The Evolution-Involution of „Co-Operative Socialism” in Guyana, 1930-1984

 

 By Franz J. T. Lee


 
 

Written: 1986
Published: 2000
 

PANDEMONIUM  ELECTRONIC PUBLICATIONS.

Mérida, Venezuela, 2000.
© 2000 Franz J. T. Lee  All Rights Reserved. 

 

INDEX



Table of Contents

 

Part One

The Genesis of Co-Operative Socialism in Guyana, 1930-1971

Concerning General Methodological Approach and Fundamental Hypothesis

British Colonialism Versus Guianese Nationalism

L.F.S. Burnham – „Man of Fibre”

The „Capitalist” Development Plan, 1966-1971

PNC Nationalisation Versus Foreign Imperialism

Economic Development, 1966‑1971

Nationalisation of the Demerara Bauxite Company (DEMBA) 1971

Guyana’s Changing Foreign Policy Around 1970

The Non‑Alignment Thrust, 1970‑1972

Guyana - Venezuela Border Conflict: From the Geneva Agreement (1966) to the Protocol of Port‑of‑Spain (1970)

Historical Introduction

„Not A Blade Of Grass“

The Rupununi „Amerindian Insurrection“, 1968‑1969.

Concerning the „Beria Plot“, 1968

The Protocol of Port‑of‑Spain, 1970

Summing Up What Have Been Elucidated

Part Two

The Zenith of „Co-Operative Socialism”, 1970-1975

The „Feed, Clothe and House the Nation“ (FCH ) Development Plan, 1972‑1976

The Declaration of Sophia, 1974

The Co‑operative: The Small Man’s Institution

Brief Review of Guyana’s Foreign Policy, 1970-1975

The Disaster Ahead

Part Three

The Decline of „Co-Operative Socialism“, 1976-1984

Concerning Involution-Evolution in Guyana

National Class Formations  and Social Structures, 1950-1980

Guyana’s Working Class

The Third Development Plan, 1978-1981

The Economic Setting

IMF Agreements, 1978-1981

Economic Reality of the Third Development Plan

The Upper Mazaruni Hydro-Electric Project

Further „Nationalisations“

Government State Corporations

Militarisation, 1970-1984

Guyana Defence Force (GDF)

The Guyana People’s Militia (GPM)

Guyana National Service (GNS) and Guyana National Guards (GNG)

Other Paramilitary Organisations: „House of Israel“ and „Death Squad“

The Working People’s Alliance (WPA)

Historical Genesis

The WPA’s Coming-To-Itself in 1980

Referendum to „Socialist“ Constitution, to Second Republic: Its Political Essence

Foreign Policy in Guyana: General Summary

The Termination of the Protocol of Port-of-Spain and its Aftermath

That Which Was To Be Proved

 


Part One

The Genesis of Co-Operative Socialism in Guyana, 1930-1971

 

Concerning General Methodological Approach and Fundamental Hypothesis

 

At first, let us introduce our general methodological approach and specific scientific focus to illustrate and illuminate the historical process of a Guyanese „co‑operative socialist“ reality and illusion. It is common scientific knowledge, that to be able to comprehend any real process or phenomenon, is to penetrate and to interpenetrate cognitively and empirically its true essence. In other words, we have to understand its intrinsic, intransigent material contradiction, within the context of its potential evolutionary process. It follows, to investigate Guyanese „co‑operative socialism“, as a historical phenomenon, which has a deliquescent essence, at the same time, we have to analyse empirically its true delitescent appearance forms. Consequently, in general outlines, we will expound the concrete effluent‑influent contradiction within „cooperative socialism“, since its genesis within the Guyanese labour movement in the 1930s, across its epigenesis in the nationalist independence movements of the 1950s, to its eventual socio‑economic materialisation in the late 1960s. Within such an epistemological approach, we can verify our fundamental hypothesis, that „co‑operative socialism“ is a particular process of social formation within a general context of historic, global transformation, which is again intimately related to universal, and why not, to multiversal and polyhistoric evolution and involution. 1)

 

Within such a healthy, unorthodox, scientific focus, what is simple and crystal‑clear, has to be described and elucidated as such. But, the most precious jewels have precisely a high purchase‑value, because of their intranslucence. Consequently, what is complex‑multiplex, what reflects intricate, multiveloce movements of human reality, necessitates equivalent forms of logical, idiomatic and scientific expression. To verify that „co‑operative socialism“, from its origin, has been a negative historical process within the general emancipatory process of the Guyanese peoples, and that its intrinsic, material essence is completely alien to scientific socialism, necessarily render unavoidable the usuage of both types of scientific tools.


 

Certain historical, material and intellectual conditions had to be existent, to enable „co‑operative socialism“ to come into existence in Guyana. Without these, it would be impossible. Without knowing these, we cannot change and improve living conditions in Guyana; in fact, without the knowledge of the above, Guyana and Venezuela cannot create the historical conditions to solve and resolve their limitrophe contradiction. Furthermore, from this scientific point of departure, we can identify and determine the political‑qualitative essence of Burnham’s „socialism“ and Jagan’s „communism“, within the dialectical framework of the general international pro‑ and anti‑capitalist forces, tendencies and latencies of our epoch. For the time being, it suffices to state that every thing that glitters is not necessarily gold; in an analogous manner, every thing is not anti‑capitalist that has a „socialist“ or „communist“ appearance form, that uses extravagant „Marxist“ verbalism, phraseology and sophistry. The scientific verification of historic truth, which will enable true human emancipation, is the empirical investigation of concrete socio‑historic reality, in a nut‑shell, of human theory‑praxis. 2)

 

 

British Colonialism Versus Guianese Nationalism

 

Before embarking on our analytic venture, it is necessary to state beforehand that the limits and limitations of this brief essay do not permit us to give the necessary precision and concise definition to such general concepts and categories as colonialism, capitalism, imperialism, socialism, communism and democracy. Because all the above terms are enveloped and veiled in an opague smog of ideological appearance forms, to avoid misinterpretations and misunderstanding, it is necessary that they should be given concise, precise scientific connotations. Under the current circumstances, we can only refer to other works of the author, which have attempted to radicate and irradicate their scientific analytic essence. 3) On the other hand, within the scientific spectrum of this analysis, their real meanings logically, will reveal themselves. To evade or circumvent their usage would be scientific dishonesty, it would debar that what they concretely express in contemporary reality.

 

After this introductory warning, let us regress to our topic, to that what has been spotlighted before. Certain transhistoric, transnational factors, among them, pro‑ and anti‑capitalist forces, have channelled Guianese historic potentiality into a definite process towards „co‑operative socialism“. These we will elaborate now. Throughout the colonial history of British Guiana, we can witness the coming‑into‑existence of a major social conflict. It was generated by the social and „racial“ tensions and pressures between the haves and the have‑nots, between the wealthy planters, farmers, businessmen and traders and the impoverished slaves, helots and pariahs of the British colony. 4) This social contradiction had produced diverse forms of oppression and resistance; it eventually epitomised in a specific irreconcilable antagonism of the 1930s: British Colonialism versus Guianese Labour Resistance. The international capitalist crisis of the 1930s had produced intense labour unrest, not only in the metropolitan countries, but also in their colonies. Originally, the general labour resistance in the British colony concentrated itself around the British Guiana Workers’ League (BGWL, 1931). 5) Its political pressure was centred within the social ambit of factory, municipal and government workers. Although the Indo‑Guianese majority was mainly employed in the sugar and rice industries, the origin of the labour movement had a certain „multi‑racial“ or „transracial“ imprint. 6) This historical fact, at the same time, pinpoints the original genetic essence and anti‑colonial content of the labour‑nationalist political process. In spite of the ephemeral „racist“ appearance forms, the oppressive, exploitative nature of British colonialism necessarily had to create its own contradiction within the ranks of the totality of subjugated peoples. Subjectively, however, the policies of the leading figures, who generally came from various middle class sections, reflected a different political world outlook. 7)

 

Within the next half decade, labour revolts spread to the important sugar industry, especially under the direction of the Manpower Citizens’ Association (MPCA, 1937). 8) It was this expansion of the labour conflict which gave the movement its specific well‑known Indo‑Guianese impetus; a trend which will continue until the 1960s. Logically, the British Government had to try to neutralise this new challenging Guianese labour affirmation. It appointed the Moyne Commission to investigate the „labour disturbances“, and to suggest possible social reforms within the general colonialist status quo. 9)

 

In order to remain within the general context of historical processes, we should not overlook the fact that during that specific period in Guianese history, the world capitalist system was movirg inexorably towards one of its major crises, towards the Second World War, with all its fascistic, national‑socialistic and anti‑communistic implications. The repressive colonial waves of European capitalism­-imperialism also lashed on the „Sea Wall“ of British Guiana, which was an integral part of the global plundering of natural and human resources. Consequently, the central capitalist contradiction, although it had its „nodal“ point in the „ mother‑countries“, indirectly also affected faraway products, for example, the British colonial interests, administered from Georgetown. The political‑ideological contradiction „facism ‑ democracy“ within capitalism, certainly, affected the minds of such proliferated leaders as Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham. But it also penetrated general social consciousness, and therewith, it could interpenetrate the labour and nationalist movements. However, such anomalies like the „Hitler‑Stalin Pact“ ‑ a „fascist‑communist“ gentlemen agreement ‑ and the combined „Allied Forces“ against Nazi Germany ‑ a unity‑and‑contradiction of „democratic“ and „communist“ opposites, as synthesis against „fascism“ ‑ sowed confusion and disarray in the international socialist camp. Ideologically, these repercussions reverberated in the „Land of Many Flowing Waters“. This is an example par excellence of what we meant before by complex‑multiplex historical processes, which determine each other, and multiveloce movements, which affect and effect multifarious historical developments. Within this general post‑war ideological maelstrom, Jagan’s „communism“ and Burnhams’s „socialism“ had their historical roots.

 

During the 1940s, in British Guiana itself, the objective‑ and subjective‑real conditions certainly did not reflect or produce either „democratic“ or „communist“ realities. In a political sense, what were existent, were insidious, volatile „race‑class“ tensions and contradictions, typical symptom of British colonialist rule. These did not favour either an effective trade union unity or a true conscious political theory‑praxis. It is common knowledge that ideological confusion cannot lead to pragmatic political praxis, and, conversely, that ineffective human praxis never can produce real emancipatory theory. This asymmetric, dichotomous relation was responsible for the political havoc which reigned in the two trade union movements: the Trade Union Council (TUC, 1941) and the Guiana Idustrial Workers’ Union (GIWU, 1946). 10) A sociological analysis of their membership and policies, certainly, would reveal the germinating „racial“ centrifugal force which hampered the emancipatory evolution of the labour movement. For our purposes, it suffices to manifest that the GIWU, like the MPCA, had recruited its rank and file mainly among the Indo‑Guianese sugar estate workers; the Afro‑Guianese dominated TUC centred itself in town and industrial areas, within the field of operation of the old BGWL. 11) This did not imply that the Guianese labour movement, a product of its historic circumstances, consciously had taken a „racial“ path.

 

It is true that, in 1944, the MPCA had affiliated itself to the TUC, and that the trade unions under the umbrella of the TUC had increased to 33 by 1947, but, this quantitative change did not generate any qualitative political tendencies. On the contrary, the Indo‑Guianese MPCA remained the most influential politico‑economic force. We should recollect that this attempted synthesis of Guianese labour unity had occurred in the post‑war epoch, at a time, when across the globe numerous anti‑colonial national and nationalist „independence“ movements came into being. A fervent desire to accomplish „democracy“ and „self ‑government“ was felt across the whole colonial world. Structural changes within the international capitalist‑imperialist system     ‑­ inter alia, the neutralisation of German imperialism and the triumph of American world „reconstruction“ ‑ forced the traditional metropolitan countries to „de‑colo­nise“ their most profitable possessions. In this internatioanal atmosphere of establishing „democracy“, safeguarding „peace“ and effecting peaceful decolonization“, the material conditions were created to make Guianese anti‑colonial nationalism possible. In parti­cular, the evolution and the existence of a labour movement and general anti‑colonial resistance in British Guiana was the material sine qua non for the genesis of post‑war political nationalism. Of course, Guianese nationalism had other historical antecedents, which dated back to the slave revolts, to the emancipation of the slaves, and to strikes and protests of the workers in the factories and on the rice and sugar fields. 12) In theoretical coherence with our methodological approach, and in analytic cohesion with our dialectical method, we must emphasise that Guianese labour was moving towards a political expression, and, conversely, Guianese nationalism was progressively approxi­mating a working class base. Whether the latter motion achieved actualisation we will see below.

 

In November, 1947, Dr. Cheddi Jagan was elected to a seat in the Legislative Assembly of British Guiana. 13) The militant leadership of the GIWU ‑ an organisation which, meanwhile, had surpassed the MPCA twice in size - openly supported Jagan’s projected policies. In effect, this simply means that it favoured his nationalist drive towards „independence“. At the same time, we should keep in mind, that it was no historical coincidence that this labour‑nationalist synthesis had a    decisive Indo‑Guianese momentum. Furthermore, it should be noted, that this historic process had very little to do with either „socialism“ or „communism“, at least not on Guianese soil. Thus, the social dynamics of the historical situation had created a new contradiction: Guianese Nationalism ‑ British Colonialism. But, real political workers’ unity remained only a possibility, a process in latency‑tendency, not a reality.

 

Nonetheless, in spite of the difficult situation, various trade unionist and political leaders tried to form and forge working class unity. This was all the more complicated because a real working class movement was then only existing in embryonic form. Despite this obstacle, Dr. J. B. Singh founded his British Guiana Labour Party (BGLP) and Jagan established his Political Affairs Committee (PAC). 14) Within a very short period, this nationalist‑political drive to counter the disastrous effects of British colonial „divide and rule“ and „racism“ evolved into yet another historical synthesis. In 1950, the BGLP (now under the direction of Burnham) and the PAC (still led by Jagan) amalgamated to form the historic People’s Progressive Party (PPP) ‑ the matrix of all contemporary contradictions in Guyana. 15) This new „unity‑and‑contradiction“ very distinctly revealed the antagonistic tendencies within Guianese politics, by unmasking the two real faces of Guianese Nationalism. Ever since, they became known as Jagan’s Indo-Guianese „communism“ and Burnham’s Afro‑Guianese „socialism“. The concrete, total truth of the matter was that none of them was an affirmation of the deepest emancipatory desires of the Guianese peoples as a whole, in line with total human emancipation. Thirty years later, Walter Rodney’s „Working People’s Alliance (WPA) would demonstrate the true affirmation within Guyanese liberation struggle.

 

What really occurred, was that the general political contradiction of the 1950s was reflected in microcosmos in the Guianese PPP. Under Stalin’s reign, the real scientific content and essence of the October Revolution was putrefied and petrified by a brutal, vulgar materialism. 16) Scientific socialism, with the dialectics at heart and the dialectical method in mind, was reduced to orthodoxy and dogma. All emancipatory and revolutionary fire were taken from its very essence. „Marxists“ forgot to study Hegel’s „Logics“ ‑ as Lenin so urgently had suggested to do - and thus, they failed to apply dialectics and the dialectical method to their own theories and praxis, especially to „socialism“ and „communism“ themselves. The historical results of this equivocation were catastrophic ‑ also in Guyana. Thus, the Guianese PPP was born at a time when the international socialist movement had reached its revolutionary nadir, and when Stalinist „socialism in one country“ had reached its zenith of „bourgeois‑democratic“ reaction. The logical contradiction of all these was that imperialism could recover under the United States flag, and, consequently, that Great Britain could direct „independence“ and „self‑government“ affairs into safe channels of „de‑colonisation“.

 

Let us now continue to expound the essential developments during this decisive period of Guyanese history. The reaction of the British Government to the Jagan‑Burnham nationalist coalition was to appoint another commission of investigation ‑ the Waddington Commission. It was given the authority to revise the colonial constitution and to pave the road towards „self‑government“. 17) Under the provisions of the new constitution, general elections were hold in 1953. The Jagan‑Burnham PPP won 18 of the 24 contested seats. 18) Not only within the PPP contradiction, but already in the parliamentary opposition, a new Afro‑Guianese national‑capitalist tendency was gaining impetus. The other two contesting parties in the 1953 elections, the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the People’s National Party (PNP), strongly represented latent anti‑Indo-Guianese and national‑capitalist interests. The British Crown reacted negatively to the election results and demonstrated its real political and military hegemony. It suspended the constitution in October, 1953, and for the period 1953‑1957, a British‑nominated ministry and an all‑nominated legislature, as „Interim Government“ administered Guianese colonial matters. 19) The reason for this negation of Guianese Nationalism was less a result of impotence, but rather one of taking the opportunity to put the right man and the correct party at the helm of future „de‑colonisation“. The British Government knew with certainty who was the right figure, and, as we will see later, so did his sister, Jessie Burnham. 20) That some fraternal „democratic“ help, as Japan claimed in his „West On Trial“, came from Washington, was just a logical minor side‑effect of the „independence“ Monopoly Game. 21) Great Britain held all the key cards for victory, including the one that concerned the Guyana-Venezuela border conflict. 22)

 

This unilateral British colonial act activated the „racial“ and „racist“ social pressures within the PPP, and the „race struggle“ exploded the superficial‑artificial egg‑shell of labour‑political nationalism. The PPP split into a Burnham and a Jagan faction. 23) A nasty power struggle ensued, a violent political vendetta engendered, which epitomised in the brutal „race riots“ of 1963/1964. 24) The laughing third contestant was British colonialism, which both factions were supposed to attack as the „mortal enemy“ of the subjugated colonial peoples. Guianese Nationalism dissolved into its two major historical component parts, which directly opposed the „transracial“ class interests of the working peoples. In honour of Jagan, and in full respect for his political errors, it must be stated that his position was more straightforward and honest. This is the reason, why his PPP will later generate its own contradiction, the WPA.

 

In 1957, the Renison Constitution dictated the next set of constitutional reformist rules to shape the future of British Guiana. 25) During the general elections, that followed in the same year, the Jagan PPP won 9 seats, the Burnham PPP 3, and the newly formed United Democratic Party (UDP) and the Amerindian Party (AP) each could secure one. 26) In October, 1957, Burnham officially proclaimed his political direction: he founded a new party, the people’s National Congress (PNC). Thereby, he undersigned the stark political reality of Guianese seriocomic games. He began to set the „socialist“ sails of the Guianese boat, raised the British‑American „independence“ flag, steered towards Guyanese „self‑government“, driven along by the mighty „winds of change“ of „cooperative socialism“.

 

In 1963/1964, British Colonialism, for the last time, applied its old „divide and rule“ tactics, including its „racial“ ideological components, in British Guiana. That these efforts bore fruits, precisely illustrated the fertile Guianese soil for such colonial‑capitalist endeavours. Later, Burnham will fully exploit this „racial“ social fertility, to further his own „co‑operative socialist“ interests. Severe social violence and bloody „race riots“ erupted in British Guiana. Of course, the brunt of the bestiality was experienced mainly by the Indo-Guianese majority. 27) The subsequent investigations of the Wynn Parry Commission illustrated the national and international dimensions of these „racial conflicts“ within Guianese Nationalism. 28)

 

Under a revised constitution, whose salient feature was „proportional representation“, general elections were again held in December, 1964. The PPP won 24 seats (45.8% of the votes, the PNC 22 seats (40.5%) and the United Force 7 seats (12.4%). 29) Burnham formed a coalition government with Peter Stanislaus D’Aguiar’s United Force. In this way, a „socialist-national‑capitalist“ government, headed by British Premier Burnham, appeared on the British Guiana political scene. PPP protests and boycotts of the London „self‑government“ talks followed, but, all in vain; on May 26, 1966, having a monarchial constitutional status, Guyana was born. 30) The Guyanese „Prince“ had introduced the prologue to the Guyanese Machiavellian melodrama with Rembrandtesque overtures, and with Apartheid undertones.

 

 

L.F.S. Burnham – „Man of Fibre”

 

During the 1963/1964 „race riots“, at the eve of the general elections, Jessie Burnham, the sister of Forbes Burnham, decided to warn the Guianese about the subterranean political motives of her celebrated brother. Although individuals alone, surely, do not make history, very often, an individual leader in his social practice very accurately expresses and reproduces a specific trend of history, the deepest aspirations of certain social groups or classes. When his party has conquered State power, he becomes the impersenation of this historic process. As long as he represents and defends such class interests, he remains in power; if he betrays them, his historical role terminates. In the character and personality of Burnham, we can trace the egoistic, undemocratic, unsocialistic, megalomaniac political tendency which entered Guyanese social reality ever since the 1960s, and which is more alive than ever today. Furthermore interfamily quarrels are often emotional and biased, but when criticism becomes verified empirically and scientifically over two decades, then it is worth paying attention to it. For these reasons we will quote extensively some passages from it: Jessie Burnham’s brochure ,“ Beware My Brother Forbes”. 31)

 

Concerning Burnham’s inhuman, undemocratic political tactics, which reflect PNC methods in general, Jessie wrote:

 

„I have watched this brilliant brother use his brain to scheme, to plot to put friend against friend, neighbour against neighbour, and relative against relative. I have watched him use this one and that one and then quickly discard them when they have served their purpose. I have watched him, with this clever wit and charm, manipulate people like puppets on a string.“ 32)

 

About the Machiavellian „Prince“ and his political chess game, she related:

 

„His motto is the personal ends of power justify ANY means used to achieve them. His bible is The Prince by Machiavelli. And we the people should he come to power will be only pawns in his endless game of self‑advancement. Make no mistake about it, the attraction of political life for Forbes is the attainment of the power and the glory. The number of times he has ignored the offer of a coalition (by the PPP) supports this.“ 33)

 

How Burnham directed his party and Guyana ever since, she described:

 

„Today, he runs his Party like the way King Christopher once ran Haiti. ... Freedom, the liberty of speech, worship and the press. Would these freedoms continue under my brother? ... That his love for personal power is so great he will trade anything to achieve it. That nothing is safe, no person, no liberty ... that stands in his way. ... Behind that jest, that charm, that easy oratory is a certain dark strain of cruelty which only surfaces when one of his vital interests is threatened. There are two Burnhams: the charming and the cruel. I say BEWARE of both“. 34)

 

 

The „Capitalist” Development Plan, 1966-1971

 

Let us now surview the economic material base on which Guyana was granted political independence. Besides, let us circumscribe the economic measures taken by the Burnham‑D’Aguiar coalition government to transform that colonial‑capitalist structure. Certainly, in a realistic and pragmatic sense, even if Burnham had true socialist goals, within the context of historical realities of the late 1960s, he had no chance to perform economic miracles within a short period of time. At any event, to pursue his „love for personal power“, at first, he had to get rid of his troublesome coalition partner „by ANY means“. This he achieved in the 1968 general elections, when he „quickly discarded“ D’Aguiar, after he had „served his purpose“. However, one thing is crystal‑clear, whatever strategies were necessary to place Guyana on a viable economic footing, the last method to apply was to accept the Puerto Rican model of economic planning, which characterised the introduction of United States neocolonialism in the Carribean and elsewhere during that epoch. Precisely this the „socialist ‑ national‑capitalist“ government did, revealing the true historic tnendency of Guyanese economico political developments. The appearance forms of political opportunism, that is, of vacillation between „East“ and „West“ in the years to come, in no way changes the essence of this historical process.

 

British Colonialism had presented Guianese Nationalism with a healthy colonial-capitalist socio‑economic material structure. Since 1966, a new historical contradiction was created: World Imperialism versus PNC „National‑Socialism“, later also euphemistically called „Co‑operative Socialism“. The PNC Afro‑Guianese bureaucratic elite not only wanted to play an intermediate role within the context of neo‑colonialism, it also wanted the largest possible part of the imperialist spolia opima. Let us now demonstrate the extent of British and world imperialist plunder, already in the 1960s, with some statistical data.

 

The Demerara Electric Company, a Canadian subsidiary, with an original investment of G$ 500,000 anually made, after tax reduction, an over 100% profit – G$ 500,000 to G$ 750,000. 35) In 1971, a document of the Guyana Bauxite Co. (GUYBAU) claimed that the Demerara Bauxite Co. DEMBA, a wholly‑owned subsidiary of the Aluminium Company of Canada (ALCAN), which is again a subsidiary of the United Sates ALCOA, had taken out of Guyana „over half a billion US dollar worth of bauxite“, of which amount, Guyana „received only a bare 1.3%“ between 1918 and 1971. 36) By 1969, ALCAN itself deployed the equivalent of G$ 5 billion worth of assets and had an income of over G$ 2.6 billion. 37) The last figure comprised over five times of the GDP of Guyana in the late 1960s.

 

In accordance with the Puerto Rican Model and the economic plans of the „Alliance for Progress“ and the United Nations Economic Commission of Latin America (UCLA), Guyana launched its First Development Programme. Aided by other pro‑capitalist advisers, the G$ 300 Million Development Plan (1966‑1972) was drawn up by the eminent West‑Indian economist, Sir Arthur Lewis. Noteworthy, is that Burnham and D’Aguiar (the Minister of Finance) heavily depended on pro‑capitalist economic advisers such as W. Davenport, the US economic adviser to the Prime Minister, and Horst Bocklemann, the West German Governor of the Central Bank of Guyana. 38) This plan was essentially based an a strategy of „industrialisation by invitation“ and oriented at attracting foreign capital investments by offering very favourable incentives. In reality, it was aimed at neglecting industry and agriculture, because three quarters of the expenditure was directed at infrastructural developments, to build roads, to supply electricity, etc. 39) In general, the Government’s economic policy towards the major industries ‑ sugar, rice and bauxite ‑ remained essentially pro‑capitalistic, anti‑nationalistic and conservative. In any case, to have nationalised these industries in the 1960s would have meant economic hari‑kiri, in due respect of the demands of the PPP and the Ratoon Group 40) for such an early unpragmatic move. If nationalisation should be one of the material conditions to introduce socialism, then, at least, all the material and intellectual conditions should be existent, to make nationalisation itself possible. Many „Third‑World“ countries had to learn this maxim of dialectics the very hard way.

 

In accordance with his own plans, Burnham signed a 25‑year agreement with Reynolds Metals Company to exploit bauxite. Besides, his Government agreed to freeze income tax and royalties during that period. In the sugar industry, Government shares were restricted to a mere 5%, which practically gave Booker Brothers McConnell a monopoly to direct economic life. Even where overseas marketing was concerned, the US trading company, Cornnel Rice and Sugar Company, dominated the commercial field. 41)

 

The above selected data should suffice to elucidate the economic state of affairs and the direction of Guyanese economic processes in the late 1960s. Consequently, Guyana’s „self‑goverrmant“ was based on a very slippery imperialist platform, its first development plan necessitated the mobilisation of G$ 245 million from foreign capitalist resources. This programme had nothing to do with economic aid from „socialist“ sources, in fact, deliberately, relations to the „East“ were reduced to the least possible. This „socialist“ utopia, to receive material help from the ex‑colonial and imperialist masters, was only negligibly realised. By 1968, mainly because the United Force was still a desirable obstacle to the PNC’s squandermania, half of the G$ 62 million private investments did come from overseas capitalist sources. Also, the USA, the UK, UN agencies and the World Bank supplied G$ 140 million in economic aid, but, this sum was not enough to boost the economic development plan, and was not sufficient to establish a viable economy. 42) The logical result of this PNC-UF economic policy of gambling with capital of their „opponents“, was that Guyana became indebted to the very historical sources which had granted it „flag“ independence. Guyana’s foreign debt increased remarkably: from G$ 107 million in 1961 to G$ 319 million by 1971. 43) It will surpass the G$ 2.5 billion mark in the early 1980s.

 

On the other hand, the success of the economic plan also depended on increased production and productivity.  Concerning the latter, where an Indo‑Guyanese majority progressively is being thrown out of political life and economic decision‑making, productivity surely will not flourish. As already mentioned before, as workers, they dominate the important sugar and rice sectors of the economy, Furthermore, it depended on direct and indirect taxation. The latter, for example, rose from G$ 2.79 million in 1966 to G$ 15.1 million in 1969. 44) Guyana rapidly developed to one of the world’s heaviest tax‑earners; by 1984, the budget had very little left to tax anymore. 45) That prevented the above factors to „rescue“ the economy from continuous and continuative decomposition, was what the application of the Puerto Rican model had generated chronic unemployment, especially among the youth, which formed a significant part of the active working population. In general, unemployment rose to about 30%, and to about 50% among the youth workers. 46) One of the factors responsible for this socio‑economic degeneration, was that agriculture and industry were neglected.

 

The fall in production and productivity, the skyrocketting of cost‑of‑living prices, the escalation of unemployment, the increase of corruption and criminality and the acceleration of direct and indirect taxation, all these, contributed to the early collapse of the First Development Plan. On a social level, to avoid starvation and malnutrition, which would have generated „labour disturbances“ and „race riots“, the Government had to increase its food importation bill ‑ a capitalist anomaly in a country as rich as Guyana in food resources. 47) It rose from G$ 25 million in 1960 to G$ 38 million in 1970. 48) Already a year after its introduction, the programme had to suffer a devaluation of the Guyanese dollar; one of the earliest consequences of PNC betrayal to the goals of true anti‑colonialism was to establish immediately firm ties with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). What this meant, after the introduction of „co‑operative socialism“ in the 1970s, we will see later. By 1984, even the IMF refused to help the bankrupt PNC policies and economy. 49) By 1971, the development programme completely broke down, and the PNC Government decided to embark on the omnibenevolent „socialist“ Second Development Plan, the Feed, Clothe And House the Nation (FCHN) Programme, 1972‑1976. 50)

 

Let us just briefly summarise what this economic bankruptcy reflected on the politic level. The United Force, Burnham’s coalition partner, represented Iberio-Guyanese national capitalist interests, which contradicted PNC bureaucratic elitist economic aspirations. Finance Minister D’Aguiar had introduced legal measures to enable his national capitalist class to invest abroad; he himself had „Guyanised“ his huge concern, Banks DIH Ltd., which mainly concentrated in the production of beer, liquor and non‑alcoholic beverages. Thus, a non‑Afro‑Guianese national class was gaining a stronghold on the Guyanese economy. By „ANY means“, this politico‑economic process had to be stopped, and its tendency had to be directed by the PNC State, towards „co‑operative socialism“. Burnham made use of the very first opportunity to realise his political goal. By means of fraudulent methods and massive „rigging”, that is, inter alia, by padding of the electoral role, by proxy voting of the dead, the under‑age and phantom voters, in the 1968 general elections, his PNC won the absolute majority, by obtaining 30 seats out of 53. 51) The road was now open to inaugurate the Co‑operative Republic of Guyana on February 23, 1970, with Forbes Burnham as its first Prime Minister. 52)

 

 

PNC Nationalisation Versus Foreign Imperialism

 

Economic Development, 1966‑1971

 

Let us summarise the economic realities of Guyana between „independence“ and „republic“, in order to give a material background to the political move towards „nationalisation” in the 1970s. According to a Labour Force Survey of 1965, and other statistical data, supplied by Ved P. Duggal, in 1966, Guyana’s per capita GDP (at factor cost, and in current prices) had risen to G$ 515 (1972: G$ 1 = US$ 0.50). 53) More than 53% of this GDP was generated by sugar, mining (mostly bauxite), distribution and government sectors. 54) Between 1960 and 1964, the average rate of growth of per capita GDP „has been about 3.5% per year“. 55) In 1968 (the year of the conquest of State power by the PNC), compared to 1967, the GDP increased in real terms by about 5%. Over the next years, it increased at a similar rate, and it reached G$ 500 million in 1971 (when „nationalisation“ began). 56) 1972‑1973, real growth of production stagnated, and in 1974, an upward trend was registered again. 57) A PNC Government booklet confirmed the evolution of this economic process in the pre-Republican period: „Economic development in Guyana during the years 1967-1971 has been sustained at an appreciably high rate, Gross Domestic Product at current factor cost rose from G$ 378. 5 million in 1967 to G$ 412. 2 million in 1968; in 1969, GDP rose to G$ 445. 9 million, by 1970 GDP was G$ 472. 9 million and in 1971 the GDP reached the half billion mark (G$ 500 million)“. 58) Throughout the period 1967‑1971, the real growth rate of the GDP „averaged a minimum of five per cent, per annum“. 59)

 

What do the above figures signify, in the light of what has been stated earlier, i.e., in relation to productivity and production? It simply means that the ratio of GDP to total labour force was negligent. The real income growth had not kept pace with population growth during that period. As mentioned before, the „healthy colonial‑capitalist structure“, which Guyana had inherited, retained the economic weakness of all „developing“ countries, that is, potentially to stagnate. Duggal: „The ratio of GDP to total labour force was about G$ 1700 in 1965, G$ 1652 in 1966, G$ 1663 in 1967, G$ 1660 in 1968, and G$ 1666 in 1969“. 60)

 

During that period, the Guyanese economy was dependent on two major capital‑intensive sectors, the sugar and bauxite industries. 61) As stated already, they were again dependent on foreign trade and capital. The 1966‑1972 development plan generated an asymmetric development between agriculture, industry and infrastructure. Consequently, it caused an even more unbalanced economic process. The entrance of British Guiana into CARIFTA, in 1965, did not alleviate this problem, on the contrary, it furthered US „equal partnership“ interests. All these have to be seen in the context of Guyanese application of the Puerto Rican model in 1966, when it had already collapsed in Puerto Rico at the beginning of the 1960s.

 

 

Nationalisation of the Demerara Bauxite Company (DEMBA) 1971

 

After Guyana became a co‑operative republic in 1970, one of the first measures which the PNC government adopted, was to „own and control“ the country’s national resources by means of „nationalisation“. As we will see, this concretely meant accumulation of State capital to finance the interests of the rising PNC bureaucratic national‑capitalist elite. In 1970, Burnham attended the Non‑Aligned Summit Conference in Lusaka, Zambia: He made use of the opportunity to make a „foreign policy safari“, to study „African Socialism“, co‑operativism and „nationalisation“ in Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda. From Obote’s party, he borrowed the political slogan: One People, One Nation, One Destiny. 62)

 

Within the new contradiction which developed, that is, PNC State capitalism versus Word Imperialism, Burnham introduced his „socialist“ ideology, an appearance form, to veil the essence of his capitalist, oppressive and exploitative interests. Opportunistically, he developed his own version of „African Socialism“ and gave it a camouflaging, non‑aligned, anti‑imperialist foreign policy. „Nationalisation“ was the economic tool to give veracity to his noble „cooperative socialist“ ideals. Let us now elucidate how a „purchase agreement“ was masked as „nationalisation“ of DEMBA, the Guyanese subsidiary of the Aluminium Company of Canada ( ALCAN ).

 

Having studied Kenneth Kaunda’s nationalisation (majority shares control), the PNC suggested government „majority participation“ to the ALCAN representatives of the Guyana bauxite industry. They were not fascinated, and offered at most „equal partnership“. However, let us briefly illustrate Guyana’s bauxite industry, in order to demonstrate its relevance for the Guyanese economy, and why the PNC government began its nationalisation drive with ALCAN.

 

Guyana’s bauxite industry dates back to 1916, when Bain Mackenzie began operations at Three Friends on the east bank of the Demerara River. 63) At the time of Guyana’s „independence“, already two US bauxite mining companies were active in the country: Demerara Bauxite Company (DEMBA) and Reynolds (Guyana) Mines Ltd. DEMBA, the largest mining company, was a wholly‑owned subsidiary of ALCAN, which again was a Canadian subsidiary of the huge US multi‑national, ALCOA. By 1971, Guyana was producing dried (metal grade) bauxite, calcined bauxite and alumina. At that time, Guyana ranked fourth among the world’s bauxite producers; it supplied almost 90% of the world’s calcined bauxite. 64) The latter was the most important foreign exchange and profit‑earner. Together with sugar and rice exports, it formed one of the main pillars of the vulnerable, unstable, Guyanese neocolonial capitalist economy. For example, in 1972, bauxite production was contributing to just under 20% of Guyana’s GNP and to about 40% of foreign exchange earnings.

 

In an „Address to the Nation“ of February 23, 1971, President Burnham gave the following alarming figures of ALCAN bauxite exploitation: „At this stage it is apposite to note that ALCAN in 1969 deployed the equivalent of G$ 5 billion worth of assets and had an income of over G$ 2.6 billion…. Guyana over the last fifty odd years received less than 3% of the profits accruing from the exploitation of her bauxite“. 65) In April, 1970, at the 13th Annual Congress of the PNC, its leadership „enunciated the basic and fundamental principle of ‘Ownership and Control’ of our resources for and by Guyanese“. 66) A year later, on March 1, 1971, the Guyana parliament by a majority vote of 48 to 3 passed the „Bauxite Nationalisation Act“. 67) It is relevant to note that between 1966 and 1970, in general, the PNC had opposed nationalisation, as a result of its pro-imperialist foreign policy. It was the PPP, in line with Soviet foreign policy, which had demanded nationalisation. Later, when the PPP gave birth to its negation, beginning with the genesis of the Ratoon Group (the original nucleus of the WPA in the late 1960s) 68), other extraparliamentary groups, with a Maoist orientation, voiced similar economic demands. Around 1970, this „nationalisation“ fever, coming from the opposition, favoured Burnham in the actualisation of his State‑capitalist dreams. This is the reason why so many non‑PNC parliamentarians supported the passing of the above‑mentioned act.

 

Thus, on July 15, 1971, the ALCAN plant at Linden (renamed after Linden F.S. Burnham) was nationalised and the Guyana Bauxite Company (GUYBAU) was born. The mutual agreement revealed the purchasing essence of this formal „socialist“ move: „The government of Guyana will pay to ALCAN a sum of G$ 107 million (US$ 53 million), over a period of no more than 20 years with interest at 6% subject to withholding tax“. 69) The PPP commented: „... the agreed price was US$ 53.5 million with 6% interest (Government figures of compensation). Figures from other sources have disclosed that the amount was higher. The nationalised bauxite complex will cost the Guyanese people G$ 160 million with a repayment period of 20 years. In addition the government borrowed US$ 8 million from Chase Manhattan Bank to help in the nationalisation of ALCAN“. 70) It follows that the PPP and other oppositional groups had favoured nationalisation, but not the PNC compensation type. As already indicated, State control of principal sectors of the economy or even State ownership of main industries does not necessarily mean the introduction of socialism. It can very well be utilised to consolidate elitist bureaucratic class rule. 71)

 

Historical events confired that the „nationalisation“ of ALCAN, in reality, did not cause any anxiety among the representatives of either Reynolds or Booker Bros. It was by no means a rupture with foreign capital. For example, GUYBAU’s selling agent for bauxite on the world market, Philipp Bros., with its head‑quarters in New York, is a wholly‑owned subsidiary of Engelhard Minerals and Chemical Corporation (USA), which again is a subsidiary company of the multi-national giant, Anglo American Corporation. In 1970, Engelhard had total assets of US$ 624,498,000 and its net sales and operating revenues amounted to US$ 1,473,656,000. 72) The marketing of this company was Guyana’s bauxite selling agent.

 

Since 1971, a real PNC „cooperative socialist” nationalisation epidemic broke out. In 1972, the ownership of Guyana Timbers Ltd. passed into PNC Government hands. In 1973 the Government „assumed ownership, for housing and agriculture, of all unused and idle lands owned or possessed by the sugar companies“. 73) In 1975, the nationalisation of Reynolds (1.1.1975) and of Jessel‑Holdings (26.5.1975) followed. In 1976, Booker McConnell (26.5.1976) and Sprastans (1.1.1976) had to believe in all these „socialist“ illusions. 74) By then, the PNC had declared itself as a „socialist vanguard party“, had developed an ideology of „Marxism-Leninism“, and had declared its „paramountcy over the Government“. 75)

 

 

Guyana’s Changing Foreign Policy Around 1970

 

In the next section, we will expound the political acme of „co‑operative socialism“, 1970‑1976, by making special reference to its Declaration of Sophia (1974), its Second Development Plan, 1972‑1976, and its foreign policy, generated from this national politico‑economic base. We will conclude this part, by summarising Guyana’s foreign policy during the period prior to the Co‑operative Republic. Of significance is to note how Guyanese political processes affected national economic developments, and vice versa, and how both determined foreign policy. Special reference will be made to the Venezuela‑Guyana border conflict which is an example par excellence of PNC opportunistic political manoeuvres. Guyana’s foreign policy between 1966 and 1970 was mainly dictated by her PNC Minister for External Affairs, Shridath Surendranath „Sonny“ Ramphal. 76) Already in the pre‑„independence“ period, he had been instrumental in the negotiations to form CARIFTA on May 1, 1965. In 1969, he expressed the general trend of Guyanese foreign policy, which was moving from an open pro‑imperialist position towards „non‑alignment“: „... our external relations must be guided by a policy of non‑alignment. Non‑alignment, not in sterile withdrawal from international opinion‑making, but in an avoidance of becoming a mere apperdage to international power ‑ in retention of a right of choice and whatever freedom of action is possible in a world not generous to freedom“. 77) However, Ramphal’s personal views about foreign policy and Guyanese political realities did not synchronise very well.

 

Nonetheless as early as June 1965, Burnham „had laid the cornerstone“ to Guyana’s future foreign policy when „he promulgated the stand that Guyana shall be no man’s satellite; shall be no man’s slave’’. 78) In March 1976, he was more explicit when he declared in parliament that Guyana „shall be pawn of neither East nor West“, and that „neither of the super powers or great blocs can depend on automatic support“. 79) With one example we will demonstrate the political reality of this non‑aligned „sweet‑talk“. Not even a year earlier, on May 26, 1966, the US base at Timehri „was returned to the people of Guyana“; about the secret military pact concerning United States use of the Atkinson Airfield, which was signed by Burnham himself, no word was lost. 80) Inter alia, the secret pact contained „non‑aligned“ privileges such as: „the armed forces of the United States of America are authorised to overfly Guyana and to use the Timehri Airport on a temporary basis, for unlimited periods of time and as often as they wish“. 81) This right was granted unconditionally, negating the principle of „non‑alignment“ as expressed by Ramphal and Burnham. We could cite many more examples of Guyanese political verbalism and wishful‑thinking; however, within the general context of what follows, these will become apparent.

 

 

The Non‑Alignment Thrust, 1970‑1972

 

Certainly, in the pro‑imperialist period, 1966‑1970, latent political moves towards „non‑alignment“ were in process. By February 1972, Guyana did have a complement of 11 missions abroad. Among them were missions at the United Nations, in Venezuela, Suriname and Jamaica. At the same time, she established diplomatic relations with about 30 other countries, among them were the U.S.S.R., Israel, India, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Zambia. Of course, apart from this major „non‑alignment“ thrust, cordial relations were established with the U.S.A., Canada, U.K., Japan, and Federal Republic of Germany. 82) Basically, however, during the 1966–1970 period, Guyana had taken „a virulent anti-communist, anti‑Soviet and anti‑Cuba position”. 83) She supported US foreign policy on the People’s Republic of China, which ranged from strong opposition, to a „two‑Chinas“ position, to an eventual support of China’s admision to the United Nations. 84) Already in 1965, this tendency was evident when she defended the US landing of 45,000 marines in the Dominican Republic. Concerning „Vietnam policy“ she supported the US line that all troops should be withdrawn. On the other hand, although Guyana was hosted by the People´s Republic of China in 1971, trade and cultural relations remained negligible. Only on June 27, 1972, officially diplomatic relations were established. 85) Concerning diplomatic relations with the USSR, which exist since 1971, initially, they remained merely formal and nominal. 86) ­Only towards 1973, diplomatic and other relations were extended‑ to other „socialist“ countries like Cuba, Yugoslavia, Democratic Republic of Germany, Rumania and Poland. About the vacillating foreign policy, we will comment more in the following section.

 

 

Guyana - Venezuela Border Conflict: From the Geneva Agreement (1966) to the Protocol of Port‑of‑Spain (1970)

 

Historical Introduction

 

The history of the Guyana‑Venezuelan limitrofe problem, from its origin until the Geneva Agreement in 1966, has been expounded in various scientific publications. 87) On the basis of the acceptance of the controversial 1899 Paris Arbitral Award, in 1932, Venezuela, Great Britain and Brazil had fixed the trijunction point at which the borders of Venezuela, British Guiana and Brazil meet, on the peak of Mount Roraima. 88) On February 8, 1944, one of the members of the United States/Venezuela Boundary Commission of 1896‑97, Severo Mallet‑Prevost, a relatively junior lawyer on the Venezuelan team, dictated a memorandum. 89) In it, he „accused his deceased colleagues of entering into an illicit political deal and of deliberately coming to a false decision“ 90) to the disadvantage of Venezuela. This occurred about a month after he had received the Venezuelan Award ‑ the Order of the Liberator. In his memorandum, he stated that the unanimous final decision of 1899 „was unjust to Venezuela and deprived her of very extensive and important territory to which, in my opinion, Great Britain had not the shadow of a right“. 91)

 

This document led to the re‑opening of the Guyana‑Venezuelan border dispute at the beginning of the 1960s. However, in Feburary, 1966, while British Guiana was still a British Colony, the Geneva Agreement, was signed by British Guiana, Venezuela and Great Britain. 92) It established a Mixed Commission of Venezuelan and Guianese representatives to seek „satisfactory solutions for the practical settlement of the controversy between Venezuela and the United Kingdom which has arisen as the result of the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 about the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela is null and void“. 93)

 

 

„Not A Blade Of Grass“

 

In September 1966, the new South American state, Guyana, was admitted to the United Nations, at a time when the above‑mentioned commission had its second sitting. However, in the same Month, the „Ankoko Affair“ occurred. Ankoko is an island situated is the Cuyuni border river. Its eastern half was declared Guianese territory by the Boundary Commission of 1905. 94) Ramphal protested in front of the United Nations by declaring: „Venezuela brazenly occupied the Guyana half of the island of Ankoko, an island of strategic importance in one of the border rivers between our countries. .... To compound the aggression, Venezuelan armed forces have established upon the island an airstrip capable of accommodating military aircraft and have turned the island itself into a military fortress“. 95) Prime Mister Burnham on radio admonished the Guyanese to remain calm. He told them that „not a blade of grass“ would be conceded to the Venezuelans. 96) The historic truth is that, since nearly two decades, inumerous blades of Venezuelan grass are covering the island. 97) This Venezuelan „aggression“ suited Burnham’s future plans to irradicate PNC „paramountcy“ and dictatorship. He converted political folly into militarisation of Guyana.

 

 

The Rupununi „Amerindian Insurrection“, 1968‑1969.

 

The Rupununi, Guyana’s southernmost district, lies near the Brazilian and Venezuelan boundaries. Its major industry was cattle‑ranching, which was then carried on in the south by the Rupununi Development Company, and in the north by two families of mixed European‑Amerindian ancestry. At that time, about 10,000 Amerindians, in scattered villages, populated the region. Some of them worked as ranch hands for the above‑mentioned farmers; others were occupied with balata collecting for sale.

 

The „insurrection“ originated because some private ranchers feared that the future PNC government would refuse to renew their grazing rights. A small number of Amerindians also shared their anxiety. These rebels killed six persons, including five policemen. Within two days, a contingent of the newly‑established Guyana Defence Force (1965) crushed the rebellion. Some 70 Amerindians were rumoured to have been killed in this agressive military campaign, 98) which was titulated as a „follow up operation to purge the rats out of their holes“. 99) However, the „leaders“ managed to flee; instead of them,“several“ persons were arrested, and ten of them put to trial in Georgetown. Before Justice Arthur Chung (later president of Guyana), seven were acquitted, and the jury failed to come to a verdict concerning the remaining three. Eventually, on June 2, 1970, the director of public Prosecution entered a nolle prosequi in favour of them, and they were set free. 100)

 

What concerns us, in relation to foreign policy, is that the „ringleaders“ of the „insurrection“ fled to Brazil and Venezuela. This action caused international reactions which affected Guyana’s relations to her neighbours. The rebels claimed that they were oppressed by the Guyana regime and consequently wanted to set up an independent Rupununi Republic. Twenty‑nine of them are supposed to have obtained political asylum in Venezuela. 101) The fact of the matter is that the PNC-UF government had neglected the Amerindian peoples. The subsequent PNC regime manipulated and ignored them. Consequently, a coincidence of social interests developed between them and the ranchers, which eventually annoyed the Guyana administration.

 

However, this incident also reflected the contradiction within the PNC-UF coalition, and the attitudes of both opposing partners vis‑a‑vis the border dispute. Madam Hart, a candidate of the UF, declared on Venezuelan television that she was the „President“ of Essequibo, and on the basis of such untruths, she asked Venezuela to intervene on her behalf. To drive her point home, she utilised the political „sore‑points“ of that epoch: „She warned Venezuelans then that the PNC was communist and that one day they might very well have their ‘Bay of Pigs’ in the Essequibo“. 102) Ramphal, by declaring the above as another „violation“ of the Geneva Agreement, countered by arguing that, already in 1966, Venezuelan diplomatic personnel in Guyana were engaged in clandestine subversive activities among „Guyana’s indigenous Amerindian community“. The expelled Second Secretary of the Venezuelan Embassy in Georgetown „was responsible for organising and financing a secret meeting of Amerindian tribes in Guyana and attempting to induce them to express support for the Venezuelan claim“. 103) In addition, he accused Venezuela of „political and economic aggression“. She had secured „the exclusion of Guyana from the Organisation of American States“, and had prevented a signatory to the Treaty of Tlateloco ‑ the Latin American Denuclearisation Treaty. Furthermore, he rebuked Venezuela for having anrounced to the world, in the London Times of 15th June, 1968, „its refusal to recognise any concessions granted by the Government of Guyana to companies operating in the area of Guyana which Venezuela lays claim“. 104) Also, on June 9th, 1968, a Venezuelan decree purported to annex and to assert sovereign right „over a 9 ‑ mile belt of sea extending to within three miles of the coast of Guyana and contiguous to Guyana’s territorial waters“. 105) Such an aggressive political atmosphere by no means favoured „satisfactory solutions“ or any „practical settlement“ of the border conflict ‑ on the contrary, progressively they contributed to the final stale‑mate of 1970.

 

 

Concerning the „Beria Plot“, 1968

 

All these political events enabled Burnham to play his anti‑communist „trump“ card: his revelation of Cuban ‑ M.I.R. involvement in a „plot“ to overthrow his government. The reactionary essence of the „Beria Plot“ is a remarkable example of Burnham’s perennial summersaults in foreign policy. It was Burnham’s last overt anti‑socialist rigmarole, in spite of PNC claims that it had been „socialist“ ab ovo. 106) Let us give some verbatim examples of Burnham’s views, concerning his relations to the Soviet Union and Cuba between 1962 and 1968:  „... the Cubans, who Castro had given no vote do not have a vote here and I do not propose to give them“. (Burnham, 1962) 107) “... this is no time to advertise that you want the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to come and take over your economy ... a small nation like our own have got to accept certain geographical facts ... we have got to be sure that we do not become a russian colony“. (Burnham, 1962) 108)

 

In a press conference of November 30, 1968, concerning the „Beria Plot”, he stated: „M.I.R., therefore, represents in Venezuela the Castroite movement for organised violence and guerrilla warfare. .... In fact, within the last few days, we have been in close communications with the Venezuelan authorities on this matter – exchanges  which have been of much value in advancing the necessary and continuing enquiries“. 109) We will refrain to comment on these quotations, but, if we recollect that the above statement was made only 5 weeks after Ramphal’s truculent attacks on Venezuela in the United Nations, then Burnham certainly revealed his true schizophrenic political nature.

 

Concerning the „Beria Plot“, which has been expounded in other publications 110), and which does not really merit scientific investigation within our context of analysis, we will just quote a significant passage which demonstrates Burnham’s „revolutionary“ trend of the late 1960s: „We know why Beria came to Guyana. ... Beria is a terrorist guerrilla. He has lived by the gun, fighting the Venezuelan Government on behalf of Cuba. He is a man of violence trained in its techniques. Violence, or the expertise of violence, was the one thing he had to offer in exchange“. 111) In 1975, after he had supported Angolan „terrorist guerrillas“, Burnham held a speech at Cienfuegos, in Cuba, and stated:  „... your victory of January 1, 1959, we consider as our own. Since then (sic!) we have identified you, the people of Cuba, as the leaders in a new revolution; a revolution which seeks as its objectives the freeing of Latin America, in fact, the freeing of the underdeveloped world”. 112) On April 9, 1975, Burnham was awarded the Jose Marti National Order; on which occasion, President Dorticos emphasised „Guyana’s position under your leadership“ on „topics of contemporary international affairs“. 113)

 

We do not know whether Burnham fooled Castro with his „just, charm and easy oratory“ (Jessie), or vice versa, but the decoration with the Jose Marti medal surely had very little in common with the Che Guevara revolutionary spirit of the Sierra Maestra. True politics or foreign policy, like real charity, begins at home, where its material essence, is located. History, which generates Truth, surely cannot „absolve“ Burnham from his political opportunism and insincerity.

 

 

The Protocol of Port‑of‑Spain, 1970

 

In 1970, the Mixed Commission had ended its four-year term, without reaching any settlement. Under the Presidency of Dr. Eric William, in June, 1970, a Protocol was signed by Guyana, Venezuela and Great Britain, to suspend the operation of Article IV of the Geneva Agreement of 1966. 114) In effect, the dispute was frozen for an initial 12 years, until 1982. As we will see later, Venezuela terminated this protocol in April 1982. 115) Significant is that Burnham’s signature confirmed that there exists de facto a Guyana/Venezuela border conflict. On the other hand, even Guynews, the official PNC Government Overseas Information Bulletin, confirmed that between 1970 and 1974 „the, relations between Guyana and Venezuela have been improving“. 116) That this occurred mainly due to Venezuelan friendly gestures, we will see later.

 

 

Summing Up What Have Been Elucidated

 

In this part, which illustrated the evolutionary process towards „Co‑operative Socialism“, we have demonstrated the genetic origins of Guyanese nationalism in the early trade union movements, in the political protests, and in the anti‑colonial resistance of the various oppressed peoples. The fundamental contradiction within Guyanese nationalism was nurtured from two main sources: from endogenous factors, generated from British colonialism, its historical products of „divide and rule“, „racism“, social discrimination, political oppression, economic exploitation, etc., and, from exogenous factors, the struggle between world imperialism and emerging proletarian movements, contradictions within the international socialist movement, the conflicts between fascism, democracy and „communism“, the international division of labour, world wars, decolonization, etc. Since the 1950s, Guianese Nationalism diverged into two tendentially contradictory appearance forms: Burnham’s „socialism“ qua „nationalised“ neo‑colonialism, and Jagan’s „communism“ qua „Guianised“ Soviet Neo‑Stalinism. Negating both political tendencies, a subterranean latency, which corresponds to the true emancipatory aspirations of all Guyanese working peoples, was always present, struggling to transform itself into a forceful tendency. Since 1960, it was located within the PPP and in other extraparliamentary oppositional movements as real negation to the PNC thrust towards „racist“ „co‑operative socialism. It follows logically, that PNC ideology and State rule have nothing in common with either scientific socialism or even scientific communism. That real „transracial’ working class emancipatory processes will surface in the WPA around 1980, still does not yet determine this political movement as the true reflection and reproduction of democracy and socialism in Guyana. Finally, the opposite of „co‑operative socialism“ in Guyana, as we have seen until now, is not capitalism, imperialism, or even neo­-colonialism, but true democracy. In this respect, democracy without socialism, and conversely, socialism without democracy, form part of Burnham’s utopian „Cuban Cigar“ dreams. 117) In the next part, which will deal with the materialisation of „co‑operative socialism“ (1970‑1975), we will notice how its substantial essence becomes empirically apparent; thus, with concrete data we will verify further our central scientific hypothesis, including other evident corollaries. Slowly but surely, since 1976, „cooperative socialism“ will take its involutionary path, that is, it will become progressively non-essential. During that period, Burnham continuatively demonstrated the true image of PNC social violence and class brutality: the „cruel face“ about which Jessie Burnham had warned as early as 1966. But, modern dictators always have their fingers on the pulse of coming qualitative social changes, they anticipate their own downfall, long before the true democratic forces are conscious of their real social strength and power. In the military dictatorship and neo-fascist oppressive measures of Burnham’s PNC regime that is, in the escalation of his repressive enactments, and in general social violence; ever since 1975, we will encounter the counterpart of future Guyanese historic emancipation.

 

 

 

Part Two

The Zenith of „Co-Operative Socialism”, 1970-1975

 

The negation of essence is appearance, and vice versa. In historical evolution, as a universal process, a social phenomenon at first appears in various intranslucent forms, which veils its true substantial essence. Gradually, its essence unfolds, discarding continuously its diaphonous appearance forms, up to a point where its historical truth becomes conspicuous. This happened to „co‑operative socialism” between 1970 and 1975 that is, after all its previous evolutionary „socialist“,“ nationalist“ ”independence“ and „non‑racial“ ideological forms had exhibited their true colours between 1966 and 1970. Since 1975, its decomposition and degeneration, in a nut‑shell, its historical involution, set in; progressively, its capitalist essence will become non‑essential, and eventually, it will meet its inevitable Hegelian „doom“. As a historical process, „co‑operative socialism“ is creating continuatively its own contradiction. As such, it reflects its direct Dialectical relation to the major contradiction, Nature‑Society, but, also, its indirect affinity to subordinate international contradictions, which unravel themselves, as class, „racial“ and capital‑labor antagonisms. 118) Let us enter upon our central theme by expounding the economic material substratum of „co‑operative socialism“ as radicated in the Second Development Plan, 1972‑1976. We will continue to elaborate its ideological irradication in the Declaration of Sophia, 1974.

 

 

The „Feed, Clothe and House the Nation“ (FCH ) Development Plan, 1972‑1976

 

On May 8, 1973, Dr. K.F.S. King, Guyana’s Minister of Economic Development made the new development programme officially known to the public. He asserted: „To my mind the Plan itself succintly describes the society that we wish to mould“. 119) Let us examine which destiny the PNC regime was „moulding“ in the 1970s, by carefully unmasking its reactionary politico‑economic essence. Firstly, „co‑operative socialism“ admitted that between 1966 and 1973 the UF and/or PNC governments, as elaborated before, had generated a virulent „racism“. It now pretended to eradicate this social evil: „... the Guyanese national must not consider himself an Indian, or African, or Chinese, or European, but as Guyanese“. 120) Secondly, Guyana must be „self‑reliant“, and, finally it must be „egalitarian“. 121) Concerning the latter, „the people as a whole“ would be involved „in the formulation of national policies and in making decisions, which implement those policies“. 122) Furthermore, „economic power“ would lie in the hands of the totality of Guyanese. Any rational, pragmatic person, acquainted with contemporary realities, would just sneer at such political infantilism.

 

The objectives of the programme included the „creation of employment opportunities“, „equal distribution of incomes“, „equitable geographic distribution of economic activities“ and the attainment of „self‑sustained economic growth“. 123) Its „main thrust“ would be directed towards „feeding, clothing and housing ourselves“. 124) The plan envisaged to spend G$ 1,150 million over the five‑year period. This then, was the programme to launch „socialism“, by carefully circumventing its historical sine qua non: a „peaceful“ or violent‑social revolution, that is, qualitative social transformation of a previous non‑essential status quo by human productive theory­-praxis.

 

Let us select and highlight just one central aspect of this programme. For the construction of housing units, what target did King’s government set for itself? „As is well‑known the target that we have set is 65,000 housing units. We have already built 5,000 of these in 1972, and our plan is to increase the tempo of building activity to 8,000 in 1973, 13,000 in 1974, 17,000 in 1975 and 22,000 in 1976“. 125) And from where would the G$ 250 million materialise, to finance this urgent necessity? Of course, true to its former „beggar“ policy, the PNC hoped that the „imperialist”, and their monetary institutions would dig their own graves, would finance „socialism“ ‑ that is, usher in their own historical demise. Also, it was taken for granted that production and productivity would increase, that currencies would not fluctuate, that export and import prices would remain stable and that the weather would remain fine. The PPP sarcastically commented; „The plan is laudible in its intentions, but naive and utopian in its outlook and mechanism“. 126)

 

By 1976, Burnham had neither clothed, nor housed or fed the nation. In his „Address to the Nation“ of December 14, 1976, he lamented about the critical „housing“ situation: „We promised to house the nation ... by 1976. We have not done so .... Our statistics show, however, ... that we have built 33,000 units. The rest of the nation is still to be housed“. 127) However, the Prime Minister equivocated by means of a slight miscalculation. With accurate data, the PPP, demonstrated that, in reality, between 1972 and 1975 only the following number of houses and dwelling units were constructed: 1972: 1,061; 1973: 1,128; 1974: 1,037; 1975: 941. 128) What the „Comrade Leader“ also failed to pronounce distinctly is that the overwhelming majority of the completed houses was occupied by PNC‑friendly, Afro‑Guyanese „election‑fodder“. Burnham then continued to make intelligible why the FCH Programme had collapsed completely. Inter alia, he elaborated that the original investment sum had to be increased to G$ 1.5 billion, that „inflation between 1970 and 1976“ had affected building costs, that prices for materials skyrocketed, that „there was a shortage of cement“, that there were not „enough skilled workmen”, that „sugar prices fell on the world‑maxket“, etc. And, finally, the standard PNC exoneration was voiced: „unusual floods“ and „severe rainfall“ ‑ which are typical for Guyana’s tropical climate ‑ affected construction, sugar and rice production. 129) Space limitations do not permit us to elaborate in detail all the ramifications of this „socialist“ devlopment plan, also not the expansion of its economic base. In the next section, we will refer to essential economic developments of this period, insofar as they effect further developments, and inasmuch, is retrospect, they have relevance to our central theme. 130)

 

 

The Declaration of Sophia, 1974

 

In the midst of its celebrated endeavours to realise its Development Plan the PNC regime called for general elections in 1973, thereafter, in 1974, it proclaimed a positive budget; and, at last, it enunciated its Declaration of Sophia, on December 14, 1974. Needless to state, the 1973 general elections were again irregular and the ruling PNC Party won with an absolute majority. 131) At its First Biennial Congress, August 18‑25, 1975, which was held under the theme „Towards the Socialist Revolution“, the practical part of this „socialist“ declaration was delineated in more detail. 132) Unintentionally, but nevertheless, correctly, the PNC called its world outlook and theoretical apparatus an „ideology“. All ideologies of ruling classes, which by definition suppress other social classes, have essential elements of rationalising and camouflaging dominant ruling class social violence. They are in sharp contradistinction to revolutionary theory‑praxis, which is concrete expression of historical truth, which has nothing to conceal. 133) However, in the welcoming address to the 1975 Conference, the PNC Party Chairman emphasised: „I share the thinking of Marx and Engels in their early work, „The Holy Family’.“ 134) He quoted a famous passage concerning „history“ in the above‑mentioned book, but, what the „Comrade Chairman“, with his impervious „comrade philosophy“ failed to excogitate, was that as early as the late 1840s, the fathers of scientific socialism principally execrated all political genres of personality cults and any personation or impersonation of scientific socialism. Quoting an article of „Our Leader“ (Burnham) written in Thunder back in 1955, he attempted to portray the „Comrade Prime Minister“ as the living ensemble of Guyanese „socialism“. 135)

 

The PNC was consecrated to a „paramount vanguard socialist party“ and the „Declaration of Sophia“ was divulged as its „socialist charters“. 136) Again, by quoting a speech, given by Marx on September 15, 1872, at the Hague Congress of the International the „Comrade Chairman“ made emphatic the historic objective of the Guyanese worker: „One day the working man must seize political power so as to construct the new organisation of labour. We must overthrow the old political system which supports the old institutions“. (Marx) 137) This is an excellent ensample of how „leftist“ ruling class ideology deliberately manipulates scientific socialist theory, to fall in line with the requirements of its oppressive objectives. If the „working men“ of Guyana had taken on his challenge, by now they could have seized PNC „political power“, and would have overthrown all the „State co‑operatives“ and „old institutions“ inherited from British colonialism.

 

In the context of his declaration, with a bad grace, the „Comrade Leader“, Burnham, equated „socialist revolution“ with „war“: „For a revolution is just like a war. .... I believe that every country must get used to waging its battles in whatever condition it finds itself in“. 138) But, in his own interest, he declared that the Guyanese socialist revolution „will be peaceful and without violence and bloodshed“. 139) The utilisation of the verb „ to believe“ by a „socialist“, was by no means a Freudian slip of the tongue. Burnham is a staunch believer, a „Marxist and a Christian”, and not a lover of science. In the same year, Guynews confirmed that „more than 3,000 dedicated followers of the PNC and Prime Minister Forbes Burnham“ were spreading „the gospel of socialism“ among the working people of Guyana. 140)

 

Very obviously, the Declaration of Sophia refrained from making trenchant remarks about the real essence of PNC ideology. Very tactfully, Burnham evaded the issue: „you will have noted that the first ariticle of the draft Constitution declares that the ‘Party is a Socialist Party’. That connotes or means that the Party’s ideology is Socialism. ... I do not propose to go into an in‑depth treatment of the subject.“ 141) Other PNC publications, to which he referred, also do not reveal any „in‑depth treatment“, any philosophic comprehension or even any conscientious study of scientific socialism. 142) Furthermore, Burnham used the concepts „peace“ and „violence“ in their general, ideological connotations, which express everything and nothing. The negation of „class violence“ is not „world peace“, it is world‑historic emacipation. 143)

 


In content, very vaguely, the Declaration treated topics, such as the „restructuring and role of the socialist party“, the „social use of land“, „foreign trade and private investments“, „ownership and mobilisation of national resources“ and „cooperatives“. 144) It exhibited Guyanese „socialism“ as being comented firmly in the „co‑operative, state and private enterprise sectors“ of the economy. Let us just spotlight the „co‑operative“ sector.

 

 

The Co‑operative: The Small Man’s Institution

 

The „small man“ and his „co‑operative“, the dispossessed and exploited pariahs and helots of Guyanese society, who possessed neither capital nor means of production, but only labour power to exploit, were advanced as the human dynamos of „co‑operative socialism“. They had to produce „socialism“ or perish! 145) The „co‑operative“ was glorified as their „instrument of liberation“. 146) In fact, Guyanese by nature are „co‑operative“: „Thousands of cooperatives have been formed over the last ten years, and they dot the countryside“. 147), In his declaration, Burnham did not supply any detailed information about this co-operative panacea to all the social evils of Guyana. He merely pinpointed its „weaknesses“. There were not enough organisers, not sufficient credits available, and, unfortunately, some of these „organisers“ have anticipated his own plans, they have changed the „co‑operatives“ into „private share‑holding companies“. For this reason, the Kuru-Kuru Co‑op College and other institutions have been established „to provide the correct attitudes“ and to train managers. 148)

 

In December, 1974, Hamilton Green, the then Minister of Co‑operatives and National Mobilisation, in an article titled „Self‑Help and Co‑operatives“, supplied more background information about co‑operativism in Guyana. He dated the „spirit of co-operativism“ back to yesteryear, to „Cuffy and his group of freedom‑fighters in 1763“. 149) However, in his essay, Green could not come to any conclusive opinion, whether he was searching for „socialism“ in Guyanese history, in „primi co-operativism“, which was an intrinsic, natural feature of all ancient societies or whether he was considering „co-operativism“ to be a scientific instrument to used for socialist transformation of capitalist society. He ended up, by stating such platitudes as „History, therefore, suggests a continuation of the cooperative principle which worked so well for the survival and well‑being of our forefathers“. 150) He elevated „co‑operativism“ to a „philosophy”, to the „love for wisdom”.

 

What Green and the PNC understand by „cooperatives“, is at best illustrated, when we outline the stereotypes which he mentioned in his article. In 1974, there were 315 school co‑operative societies with a membership of over 40,000, and savings of over G$ 300,000. Then, there were fishermen’s, cane farming, pig rearers’ co‑operatives, including the Guyana Co‑operative Wholesale Society. In fact, any colonial‑ or neocolonial ‑ capitalist organised economic activity was miraculously transformed into a „co‑operative“ institution. If „co‑operatives“ did not exist, they had to be invented. Already in 1972, Guynews supplied an encyclopaedic compendium of types of co‑operatives: the „most successful“ and „dynamic“ ones were located in the areas of „housing, the hinterland, tourism, live‑stock‑cattle, poultry and pig, ... retailing and distributing consumer goods, providing a source of credit, fishing and providing catering services, ... producing claybricks, operating bookshops in schools, manufacturing garments, footwear, leather handbags, suitcases and headwear, ... operating petrol and service stations and bakeries“. 151) Certainly, all these areas provide a fertile ground to organise scientifically‑planned co‑operatives, but, then, „co‑operativism“ must begin principally in the PNC Government and its institutions.

 

Even multinationals like Reynolds (Guyana) Mines Ltd. followed suit to nurture PNC „co‑operativism“. It assisted the Rice Farmers Co‑operative Society to cultivate its 72‑acre farm. 152) Cammie Ramsaroop, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, also had to intervene to explain that „co‑operativism is the vehicles for economic and social change“. 153) Finally, on February 22, 1976, when the beginning of the end was already in process, Burnham himself appeared on the „co‑opevative“ platform and stated: „There is no place to indulge in a long catalogue, but be he friend or foe, any observer, unless he is purblind, must perforce concede that we have continued to move forward. We have not reached the peak of Olympus, nor the top of the pyramid, but we have neither stood still nor moved backward“. 154) He forgot to change the pluralis majestatis „we“ to PNC. Notwithstanding, in September, 1976, the PPP reported that many co‑operatives had collapsed, and it gave various examples. 155) Four years later, Brindley Benn’s Vanguard will classify „cooperativism“ as a „fool’s paradise“ and will concede that the only really functioning co‑operative was Jonestown. 156) By 1984, as a result of total economic bankruptcy 157), the whole cooperative system will exist only in name, but not as a functioning economic reality. In any case, as long as PNC „co‑operative capitalism“ survives, in its understanding of „co-operatives“, any forced slavery will be titled as such.

 

 

Brief Review of Guyana’s Foreign Policy, 1970-1975

 

As already stated, Guyana’s foreign policy, from 1966 to 1975, was mainly dictated by the future Secretary-General of the British Commonwealth, „Sonny“ Ramphal. 158) Essentially, his successors, Fred R. Wills (1975-1978) and Rasleigh Jackson, will continue the basic tenets of his foreign policy, developed during the period, 1970-1975. 159) The essence of this policy, Wills later summarised as follows: „foreign policy is a reflection of national policy and is the tool employed in the field of international relations for achieving national objectives“. 160) This is precisely what we have demonstrated until now. He should just have added: a „tool“ for achieving ‘PNC’ national ‘colonial-capitalist’ objectives“.

 

During this period, in order to give „co-operative socialism“ a „Third World“, „anticolonialist“, „socialist“ and „non- aligned“ external image, the PNC regime had to extend its diplomatic, cultural and economic relations to the respective world spheres. With regard to Soviet and Chinese diplomatic relations, in spite of the Sino-Soviet conflict, Burnham, an expert in vacillating, opportunistic policies, played his role exceedingly well. 161) A Soviet team, led by Aleksei V. Zwiagin, was invited „to look into our economy“. 162) In 1973, diplomatic and trade relations were established with Cuba and weekly air services organised. 163) On April 2, 1973, the Chinese ambassador, Wang Chan Yuan, presented his credentials to Guyanese President Arthur Chung. 164) By 1974, the PNC regime was ready to move towards the USA-EEC-Japan-China axis. By July, 1974, imports from China already valued G$ 6.1 million and exports to China reached G$ 16.4 million. 165) Until 1976, this tendency towards „socialist“ economic relations will continue, but since 1977, Guyana again re-established firm relations with the World Bank/IMF capitalist chain. World „imperialism“ had no reasons to get excited ever Burnham’s „co-operative socialist“ salto mortale in foreign policy, of the 1974-1977 period. Other significant elements of Guyanese foreign policy during this period were the attempts to cultivate Caribbean Unity and Integration, to establish relations with Latin America, and to extend trade and cultural relations with Venezuela, Brazil and Surinam. 166)

 

 

The Disaster Ahead

 

Ever since 1976, having secured political, military and economic power, the PNC regime could begin with the pillaging and plundering of Guyana’s human and natural resources. In Part III, on the economic plane, we will elaborate further „nationalizations“ and their aftermath, the establishment of Government State Corporations, the Third Development Plan (1978-1981), the Upper Mazaruni Hydro-Electric Project (UMHEP) and the IMF Agreements. On the political level, we will demonstrate the road to open military dictatorship, the 1978 Referendum, the 1980 general elections and the inauguration of the Second Republic (1980). Within the context of the mounting emancipatory movement, we will elucidate the emergence of the WPA, the unleashing of political repression, murders and assassinations, the Jonestown holocaust and the blatant violations of basic human rights. We will terminate with a review of Guyana’s evolving foreign policy, by making special reference to the Venezuela/Guyana border conflict. All the abovementioned processes and selected events form the essential core of the inexorable decline, of the inevitable involution, of Guyanese „co-operative socialism“. We will also investigate whether contemporary Guyana is pregnant with new neo-colonial disasters, or, whether within the decomposition of archaic social processes, aurorean, aeonian revolutionary light can interpenetrate and invigorate future emancipatory social transformations.

 

 

 

Part Three

The Decline of „Co-Operative Socialism“, 1976-1984

 

Concerning Involution-Evolution in Guyana

 

For the sake of scientific clarity, let us make intelligible what we understand by involutionary and evolutionary processes in history and in Guyana. Contrary to the general, erroneous, ideological approach of juxtaposing „revolution” and „evolution“ in such a manner that they have no dialectical relation, we consider both concepts to be expressing two interrelated „phases” of one and the same flowing, universal or particular process. „Co-operative Socialism“ in Guyana is a particular, historical process which came into existence (by evolution) and which necessarily must pass away (by involution). In the same way, as „revolution“ and „evolution“ are interrelated, „revolution“ and „involution“ have reciprocal relations. Consequently, „involution“ and „evolution“ are universal categories, expressing multifarious modes and multiveloce motions of cosmic change.

 

Within human history, which is a specific process of essentially organic-production, general transformations, that is, radical, qualitative, social changes, can be represented exactly as social revolutions. Conversely, formal, mechanical or quantitative alterations, which do not change fundamentally the social essence of the status quo or establishment, are scientificallly characterised as social reforms. Inter alia, they include such political phenomena as „de-colonisation“, „palace revolutions“ and a coup d’etat. In the case of Guyana, „self-government“, „flag“ independence and „self-reliance“, all, fall in this category. Furthermore, Burnham’s „co-operative socialism“, Ken Danes „silent revolution“ and the PNC’s „socialist revolution“ are all horses of the same colour, which do not merit any further flogging. 167) Ex post facto, we have brought out striking examples of simple quantitative and qualitative  changes within Guyanese history, 1930-1975. We have given testimony of some polymorphic British colonial social reforms. Very plainly, we have demonstrated that the Guyanese peoples, past and present, have not experienced a single, autogenous social revolution. The subjugation of the autochthonous Amerindian peoples, the introduction of chattel-slavery, the abolition of slavery, the substitution of wage-labour, the establishment of a colonial-capitalist monetised economy, the granting of „self-government“ and „independence“ and the ventrous launching of PNC „co-operative socialism“, all these, form part of a single, historic, evolutionary, capitalist-imperialist process, which was systematically introduced into Guyana. In fact, „co-operative socialism“, to use a more appropriate term, Guyanese co-operative capitalism, is currently the „highest stage“ of this exploitative imperialist process in Guyana. 168) As such, it is a subordinate, subjunctive, particular historical product of the general acclivity-declivity of the contemporary capitalist mode of production. Consequently, from 1499 until today, Guyanese history, including all its essential, socio-economic multiplex processes, was generated, directed and controlled exterritorially.

 

Without minimising capitalism’s potentiality to regenerate, and also without underestimating its imperialist-exploitative capacities, we can safely say, that with monopolism, it had reached its zenith, and gradually it is embarking on its unyielding, protractive, involutionary, decompository process. Guyanese co-operative capitalism - a special form of neo-colonialism - is intimately linked to the universal-historical negation of the central contradiction of our contemporary mode of production, that is, to foreign capital. This is the scientific reason why necessarily it must follow the declinant path of world capitalism, and why it will lead to its inexorable Hegelian „doom“. This is not a matter of belief or faith, but of scientific knowledge - a simple, concrete, relative truth of universal and historical materialist dialectics.

 

The various British and Dutch colonial administrations, the PPP governments, the British colonial interim government, the PNC-UF coalition and the ruling PNC neocolonial regime, by hook or by crook, all were either instructed or forced to play abhorrent roles of loyal, intermediate executive officers of foreign world-capitalist (including „socialist“ and „communist“) interests. 169) As a process of human production, Guyanese history must have a central, material contradiction. Global colonial and neo-colonial capitalism must have reproduced its own recalcitrant labour negation in Guyana, at least as a material delitescence. Wherever social resistance to political oppression and economic exploitation was located in Guyana, precisely there ubiquitous, teleological latencies were generated and progressively they were transformed, by class struggles, into emancipatory tendencies. The social transformation of potency and potentiality into latency, and further into tendency, is what we understand by human theory-praxis. This is also what we meant earlier, when we referred to creation of material and intellectual conditions to transform human emancipatory aspirations, through social, associated labour, into historic realities.

 

From this perspective of social theory and action, not everything is possible, also, whatever will be, will not necessarily be in Guyana. Because of the indeterminate, indeterministic historic future of Guyana, only such phenomena which have the necessary material conditions to evolve, can truly become. Conversely, only if Guyanese cooperative capitalism has the necessary conditions to involve, then it can be wrapped up historically as productive garbage. 170) Consequently, the victory of the liberation forces over Guyanese neo-colonialism is not inevitable, is not an absolute truth. It is related historically to the general human emancipatory process, which may lead to everything or nothing, which may succeed or fail. At least, until now, everything is not lost as yet, therefore, Guyanese emancipation from PNC wage-slavery still remains a real, material possibility.

 

In this part, we will demonstrate that Guyanese co-operative capitalism is not declining in a mechanistic, deterministic, vulgar-materialistic fashion, but, it is currently decaying, because an affirmative, emancipatory synthesis is being produced, which makes its substance progressively non-essential. That Burnham’s regime is actually declining, is the scientific verification of the fact that revolutionary forces are attacking the reactionary core of his military dictatorship. The emergence of the WPA and its courageous, ephemeral challenge of the late 1970s demonstrate to what level subterranean political latencies have already been transformed into supersubstantial social tendencies and possibilities.

 

Guyanese history does not unfold in a unilinear or uniplanar fashion, exactly because of the effect of polyhistoric and multiversal processes mentioned before. While human history, within the context of tremendous sacrifice of human lives, and within the framework of a permanent pregnancy with apocalyptic nuclear perils, slowly is surpassing its involutionary „phase“, and is transcending towards resolving its major contradiction, Burnham’s „co-operative socialism“ rapidly travels in reverse-gear, and is currently „moulding“ the suicidal „destiny“ of its elitist, bureaucratic social class, of which the Jonestown „co-operative“ was a warning „mene tekel“ on its militarist wall. We will now briefly summarise the historical evolution of this ruling, possessing class, its conquest of State power, its clinging on to decaying economic power, its inauspicious Third Development Plan, and its secretive IMF agreements.

 

 

National Class Formations  and Social Structures, 1950-1980

 

As had been the case until now, we will limit ourselves to essential factors and relevant phenomena, which further our scientific investigation and verification. We will notice that Burnham’s co-operative capitalism has a definite, dependent fixation to market relations, which determine its economic essence. Towards the end of the 19th Century, ushering in its involutionary „phase“, liberal capitalism qualitatively changed into monopoly capitalism, but without altering its essential nature. In Great Britain, various estates were changed into mercantile houses, into the forerunners of the contemporary multi-, transnational corporations. Bookers Bros. McConnell & Co. Ltd. established itself in British Guiana and it depended on market relations and functions for colonial social exploitation. Later, PNC cooperative capitalism, including its „cooperatives“ and state corporations, will inherit a similar fixation to market relations, price policies and economic development plane.

 

By 1950, British Guiana had experienced the consolidation of such colonial-capitalist relations. Continuatively, it began to suffer their concomitant social evils: monocultural and monoproductive patterns, a vulnerable trisectoral economy, adverse medical and health conditions, a rising analphabetic rate, progressive unemployment and under-employment, inhuman housing and inhumane living conditions, chronic poverty and social misery, escalating social „racial” discrimination and alientated disindividualisation. 171) These social conditions gradually smelted together various lower working social groups of British Guiana - in spite of rampant, rabid „racism“ - and formed a compound working class-in-itself. However, as stated explicitly before, although they gained popular support, the emerging labour, nationalist and antiimperialist movements did not accomplish any essential qualitative social changes. On the contrary, the flowing, productive base, plantation-slavery, indenture and peripheral capitalism, very clearly reflected the reformist, constitutional changes in the political movements of the Guianese superstructure. 172)

 

By then, middle class professionals (mainly Afro-Guianese) and small businessmen and traders (mainly Madeiran-Portuguese and Chinese) had already transformed themselves into national political elites. Consequently, they were able to exercise a considerable control over domestic State revenues. It was the social dynamics of this national middle class which had generated the political thrust towards nationalism and „independence“. On the other hand, on a parallel plane, progressively, Indo-Guianese nationalism and national capitalistic interests were gaining social momentum especially due to popular workers’ support in the rice and sugar industries. The Jagan-Burnham PPP was a political reflection of the strength of Indo-Guianese - Afro-Guianese national economic class interests, which were directed against the British colonial planter-class. Already before, British colonialism was aware of this economic danger to its colonial-capitalist interests. This is the reason why the colonial Georgetown administration had favoured the Portuguese-Chinese social drive to become a national petitbourgeois class. It was planned to become a formidable economic „sea-wall,“ to break the stormy Indo- and Afro-Guianese waves of capitalist-economic onslaught.

 

However, carried on the crest of the trade union movement, Indo-Guianese economic development made remarkable strides forward. Consequently, the British Government considered it apposite to amalgamate D’Aguiar’s „national capitalism“ with Burnham’s „socialism“, in order to stop Jagan’s „communism“. This political checkmate against Jagan was reflected in the formation of the PNC-UF coalition government, in the granting of „self-government“ to Guyana and in the realisation of PNC „flag“ independence. It resulted in a new game with new contradictions. The new national elite, spearheaded by the PNC, began to accumulate capital against British and foreign capitalist interests. Burnham held the longer end of the rope, he got rid of D’Aguiar, gained full Statecontrol, „nationalised“ foreign companies, introduced „co-operativism“, founded State corporations and organised selfprotection, by escalating militarism. Thus, the PNC consolidated itself as a national, elitist, bureaucratic class and blocked further Indo-Guianese, Portuguese and Chinese capital accumulation. The inauguration of the Cooperative Republic (1970) and the Declaration of Sophia (1974) marked the PNC’s final victory over all other class interests.

 

The economic- paradoxical aporia of all these, was that the PNC expected „world imperialism“ to supply the necessary funds, credits, loans and gifts to feed its parasitic class. This generosity was expected as a sort of natural „compensation“ for its tested loyalty, after its political dethronement of Jagan and its historical betrayal of Guyanese working class interests. As we will see, for a while, its dreams materialised. The IMF patiently endured PNC infantile economic pranks of the 1978-1983 period. But, by 1984, this PNC „fairy god-mother“ had enough of its opportunism   and farce.

 

At no at stage in its political history, the PNC ever had dreamt about realising Socialism, at least not what is understood scientifically by this term. Ever since 1970, it began to introduce strategic measures to deploy State capital to class accumulation. It elevated itself to a new ruling and possessing class. Mercilessly, it began to extract surplus value from the impoverished Guyanese working population. A large part of this social surplus was directed towards military build-up, to internal PNC self-protection and to strategies to nurture „border conflicts“. Without the latter, Burnham would not sleep sound, and world imperialism would lose an important geopolitical tool for „destabilization“ in that part of the Caribbean region. 173)

 

 

Guyana’s Working Class

 

Finally, let us make some general remarks about Guyana’s growing working class-in-itself, and its growth towards a politically conscious working class-for-itself, towards a proletariat. 174) Guyana’s future proletariat had its genesis in the epoch of the plantation economy. Already then, part-time peasants, mainly dependent on wage-labour, had evolved. 175) In the interior, in agricultural production, but also in the mining industry, the manual labourers in the villages more and more acquired this dual labour character. Towards the middle of the 20th Century, progressively, all rural labourers were converted into wage or semi-wage workers. By 1975, even in agriculture - in the rice and sugar industries - pure peasant families had already disappeared. At that time, the total active labour force amounted to 200,000 (out of a total population of approximately 700,000) 176), of which about half was employed by the PNC State. 177) In the rural region, where about 10% of the population was concentrated, the agricultural workers produced under typical colonial and neo-colonial capitalist relations, which were nurtured by a special oppressive landlordism. However, a Guyanese peasantry and a wealthy landlord class never developed.

 

Ever since the beginning of the century, along the narrow Coastal Belt, where the majority of the population lives, especially in the bauxite mining areas, a large urban workforce had been formed. 178) It was this „multi-racial“ pauperised workforce, inspired by Rodney’s WPA, that began to stir around 1980. Together with its concomitant indo-Guyanese rural labour wing, it is responsible for Burnham’s „co-operative socialist“ nightmare.

 

 

The Third Development Plan, 1978-1981

 

The Economic Setting

 

As we have noted, the FCH Development Plan, although „rolled over“ to 1977, was a complete economic fiasco. To accumulate PNC State capital, a new development programme was projected for 1978-1981, and economic growth was targeted for 17% in real terms. This occurred in a financial situation where, between 1965 and 1976, the respective Guyanese governments had already spent G$ 987.6 million more than the Treasury received. 179) Rocked by the adversities of a neo-colonial capitalist economy, Guyana was experiencing mounting social and economic crises, had budget and balance of payments deficits, had to make cuts in essential imports, in development (capital) expenditure and in social services, had to reduce subsidies on essential commodities and services, and, had to redeploy and dismiss numerous workers. 180) A large part of the social surplus value, which was produced under severe social conditions, was squandered to enrich the PNC elite and to finance their Cadillac style of living. Between 1975 and 1981, a World Bank Report on Guyana of 1982 illustrated the poor economic performance as follows: „by 1981 the real level of per capita income was lower than it had been in 1970 and nearly 30% below the level reached in 1975“. 181) In the first half of the 1970s, the economy relatively grew rapidly, thereafter, a progressive stagnation and decay set in. 182) At the peak of „co-operative socialism“, GDP (at factor cost) increased by nearly 4.0% p. a. Between 1975 and 1980, as a result of world depressive factors and PNC mismanagement and pillage, it fell to -0.7% p. a. 183)

 

Between 1974 and 1975, oil prices quadrupled, but the economy was saved by the sugar price boom. Furthermore, Guyana’s average export prices, due to special arrangements, were significantly higher than world marked prices. 184) The Terms of Trade Index (1977 = 100) were as follows: 1970 - 90.0; 1975 - 129.1;  1976 - 101.0; 1977 - 100; 1978 - 93.2; 1979 - 85.2; 1980 - 91.3; 1981 - 84.1 185) However, sugar production alone could not save the economy from progressive declination. In addition, 1975-1980 had witnessed a sharp drop in bauxite production and output of other economic sectors. We will not elaborate the Third Development Plan in all its formal ramifications. Relevant is, to cognosce its financial backing by the IMF/World Bank complex. Later we will refer to the hydro-electric project, which was an important constituent part of this development plan.

 

 

IMF Agreements, 1978-1981

 

As stated before, the Third Development Plan was based on economic aid from the PNC „fairy god-mother“, the IMF, and from her associated international foreign capital institutions. After ALCAN was „nationalised“, and the UF was thrown out of government, such benevolent measures were reduced to a calculated minimum. For example, in 1971, the World Bank had refused a Guyana loan application of US$ 5.4 million for drainage and irrigation. However, in June 1977, Terence Todman, thenformer US Assistant Secretary of State, became convinced that „Guyana is seeking a different path of social and economic development, one with which we have no quarrel and which we have no reason to fear“. 186) This simply means that the United States then knew for certain in which direction the PNC „co-operative socialist“ gale was blowing.

 

Thus, on June 12, 1978, the PNC Government could come to a secret agreement with the IMF. Paradoxically, IMF „conditionality“ began to contradict the PNC antisocialist economic objectives, as expressed in its development plan. The Washington Post revealed the true motives of this IMF decision to make a loan available to Guyana. It was a political chess move „of potentially major significance in US efforts to check the spread of leftist influence in the Caribbean“. 187) To qualify for the IMF loans, Guyana’s development plans had to secure, inter alia, the following: a real growth in GDP of 5% from 1978-1981; a reduction of the current account deficit to 10% of GDP (from about 32%) to an increase in foreign assets; and, a reduction in foreign payment arrears. 188). A G$ 27. 3 million credit (in compensating financing) was  negotiated. For 1979, an Extended Fund Facility for G$ 204 million was agreed upon.

 

At what point did PNC and IMF capitalist objectives synchronise? What did the PNC-IMF agreementa have in stock for the Guyanese workers? Inter alia, the IMF loans resulted in: removal of subsidies, increased prices on consumer goods, increased costs of electricity, telephones and transportation, an increase of bank rates, restrictions on imports, food shortages, dismissals and retrenchment of workers. 189) In August 1979, the IMF „Stand-by Agreement“ was prolonged by an „Extended Arrangement“ for a further revised credit of G$ 206.4 million, in addition to the G$ 48 million already granted in 1978. 190) At the end of 1979, the Development Plan failed to meet the IMF guide-lines, and in July, 1980, a new deal had to be worked out. Under the new agreement, credits were provided up to an equivalent of SDR’s 100 million (US$ 132. 1 million). The new deal extended over the period July 1, 1980 - July 1, 1983. During the period 1980-1981, Guyana drew US$ 47.1 million. Generously, in 1981-1982, the IMF again increased the total amount of the arrangement from SDR’s 100 million to 150 million (US$ 172 million). The PNC gladly grasped this life-line, but it did not realise that it was a rope for economic execution. Together with these extended arrangements, new „conditionalities“ were drawn up, and new targets were set. 191) Obviously, none of them could be realised. Finally, in 1983, the IMF refused any further economic aid to Guyana for the 1984-1985 period. 192) Thus ended an economic process, which begun with the introduction of the Puerto Rican economic model, way back in 1966. What it intended to avoid, now will appear on the Guyanese social scene.

 

 

Economic Reality of the Third Development Plan

 

The PNC Third Development Plan and the IMF Agreements, on the economic level, express the two counterparts of the PNC „co-operative socialist“ - world imperialist contradiction. The accumulation of PNC State capital did not agree with the IMF/ World Bank plans to convert Guyana into a typical modern neo-colony. Burnham did not want the IMF to dictate political terms to him, but he agreed that it should pay Guyana’s debts, clear its bills for development,  keep some of its creditors at bay and to finance its consumption and remuneration. 193) By December 1979, Guyana’s foreign debt had increased to G$ 2.5 billion as compared to the 1980 budget of G$ 1,086 billion. 194) Debt charges increased from G$ 10.3 million in 1964, to G$ 236 million in 1980. In 1979, 38% of the current expenditure, or 56.8% of current revenue, or 30.5% of export earnings, went towards debt and compensation payments and charges. 195) It simply means that world imperialism was holding the right end of the stick, and Burnham was left with the rotting carrot.

 

The Third Development Plan broke down completely and, at the end of 1981, displayed the following statistical data: economic growth -0.5%; current account deficit G$ 274 million; current account of balance of payments G$ 558 million; and social services allocations fell from 45.9% in 1964 to 30.9%. 196) Consequently, in the 1982 budget, debt charges and repayments rose to G$ 462.7 million, that is, 76.6% of current reserves, or 41% of export earnings, or 51.8% of current expenditure. 197) This economic decline, on the political level, generated political bankruptcy, accelerated militarism, escalated „racism“, invigorated „border dispute“ aggression and vindicated neo-fascist dictatorship.

 

 

The Upper Mazaruni Hydro-Electric Project

 

In the mid-1970s, a significant economic element of the Third Development Plan, and of PNC-planned State capital accumulation, was the launching of the Upper Mazaruni Hydro-Electric Project (UMHEP) in the Essequibo region. To introduce this project, an international seminar on „Hydropower and Environment“ was held in Georgetown between October 4 and 8, 1976. 198) The main objectives of this UMHEP, certainly, were not „to meet the country’s electrical needs for a period of eight to ten years ahead“ (Dennis Irvine) 199) or to sell electricity to Venezuela, Brazil or Suriname. Inter alia, Burnham’s „King Bruce“ or „spider“ project was a capitalist „utopian dream“ to establish „an Aluminium Smelter of approximately 148,000 tonnes per year capacity“ 200), to construct a new town, in the complex of some 200 square miles, to convert the region into a tourist attraction, and, last but not least, to reduce his oil import bill. 201) The latter consumed already 36% of the total value of imports in 1980 and absorbed 35% of the total export earnings. 202) This expenditure surely did not favour rapid State capital accumulation. Furthermore, this project was an excellent strategy to aggravate the border conflict with Venezuela, in anticipation of the termination of the Protocol of Port-of-Spain in 1982.

 

And, who will have to finance this mammoth US$ 2 billion (currently about G$ 6 billion) project, whose costs, by a half, Guyana’s foreign debt of the mid-1980s would approximate, and which itself would constitute the sextuple of Guyana’s 1982 budget? 203) The answer to this question does not merit any quiz prize. As usual, it will have to be the same capital sources and resources which have financed all Guyana’s development plans. And, how would Venezuela take this obvious tantalising move? In spite of the „border dispute“, on November 20, 1978, Carlos Andres Perez, the then President of Venezuela, stated in Georgetown: „Venezuela has decided to study the possibility of linking the present and future systems of the two countries and purchasing electricity from Guyana on the completion of the hydro-power project. .... We will give all we can to help develop this complex“. 204) The truth of the matter is that if Burnham’s PNC had studied introductory commercial arithmetic, it would never have formulated such a gigantic project. Guyana was not even capable of completing another mini-hydro-electric project at Tumatumari, which was costing only G$ 200 million. 204) As we know already, Guyana failed to realise IMF targets, and, consequently, no „full blessings“ were given by the World Bank to the UMHEP Programme. 205) In addition, while terminating the Protocol of Port-of-Spain, President Herrera Campins reiterated „Venezuela’s rejection of the Hydro-Electric Project of the Upper Mazaruni“. 206) Like the IMF and the World Bank, even Venezuela grew impatient of „spoon-feeding“ Burnham with lectures on contemporary realpolitik and international realities.

 

Further „Nationalisations“

 

To militarise Guyana, the PNC Government not only needed „border disputes“ with Venezuela and Suriname 207), it also required, in addition to hard words, plenty of hard cash. One method to secure ready money for hardware and militarization was to organise further „nationalisations“ and to convert the „compensated“ companies into State corporations. We have mentioned earlier some „nationalisations“ of the 1971-1976 period, here, we will just turn the spotlight on Bookers Bros., Reynolds and Jessel Holdings.

 

After the purchase agreement with ALCAN in 1971, the Opposition taunted Burnham that he was afraid to touch Reynolds, „lest government incur the wrath of Uncle Sam“. 208) This is an indication of how superficially the then PNC „Opposition“ had comprehended Burnham’s political „fox and geese“ game. The royal „fox“ replied to these jibes „that he was operating like a camoudie, digesting one meal before going after another“. 209) To make a long story short, on January 1, 1975, Reynolds was „nationalised“ and it became the State-owned BERMINE, which completed the purchase agreements in the bauxite sector. 210) Next on the list was Jessel Holdings, the smaller sugar company, but, the „camoudie“ was really yearning for a big bite into the „sugary“ Bookers Empire.

 

The interests of Jessel Holdings included two sugar factories, various sugar-cane cultivations, 63% of the shares of Diamond Liquors Ltd. and 20% of the shares of Demerara Sugar Terminals Ltd. The purchase agreement of May 26, 1975, contained the following: „Government will pay G$ 15 million for the local assets of this British Company. G$ 5 million will be paid in cash. G$ 10 million will be paid over a period of 10 years bearing interest at the rate of 8.5% subject to withholding tax of 25%. This means that the real interest rate will be 6.35%. The G$ 10 million compensation for the two sugar factories, 2,000 acres of sugar cane and all buildings and stores will be paid for, from future profits over the next ten years“. 211) The PPP Thunder added up all the costs, and came to a total of G$ 25 million. 212)

 

The multi-corporation giant Bookers began cane-sugar exploitation in Guyana as early as 1815. By 1976, according to a speech of Burnham (of February 22, 1976), it „was responsible for over 40 per cent of the country’s exports (...) and over 25 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (...) and which in addition, according to its own admission, brought no new capital into Guyana over the last ten years“. 213) For the Bookers assets, which were estimated at G$ 102.5 million, the Guyana Government agreed to make a net payment of approximately G$ 70 million. According to the purchase agreement, the amount had to be paid over 20 years at an operative rate of interest of 41/2% p. a. Attacking the „political morons“ (especially the PPP and WPA), Burnham concluded, by rejoicing: „I say we have got a good deal“. 214) He noted further: „Ours must be the pursuit of perfection. We must aim at the stars, not at the earthy mountain tops.“ 215). This is indicative of Burnham’s celestial, megalomaniac traits. The whole sugar industry was reorganised under the supervision of the State-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO). There was not much left to „nationalise“ further - only some minor deals with Berger Paints and Cable and Wireless followed. 216)

 

 

Government State Corporations

 

After the PNC victory over the UF, in 1969, the Guyana State Corporation (GUYSTAC) was conceived. In 1972, Guynews expressed its main function as follows: It „is now functionary head of all public corporations, and as such is now responsible for employment at the Corporation“. 217) Thus, the PNC State was now not only controlling allmajor „public“ corporations, it was also „responsible“ for the extraction of surplus-value. Let us just specify some of the corporations which are under its control: Guyana Rice Board (GRB), Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC), Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC), Guyana Telecommunications Corporation (GTC , Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Guyana National Newspapers Ltd. (GNL), Guyana Stores Ltd., Guyana Electricity Company (GEC), Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) and the National Insurance Scheme (NIC). Before 1970, Bookers, Reynolds, ALCAN, Jessel, Shell Antilles (Guyana) Ltd. and other private enterprises had employed the largest amount of workers. 218) At the time of the Sophia Declaration, next to GUYBAU and Government-owned banks, GUYSTAC advanced as the major public employer. Since 1976, GUYSUCO, GUYMINE and BERMINE absorbed the employees of the early multinational companies. By 1979, GUYSTAC became a PNC national „Multi“; it controlled 29 „public“ corporations, which had assets valued at approximately G$ 500 million. 219)

 

Until about 1977, most of these public corporations made some profits. However, squandermania, mismanagement, corruption and foreign exchange problems soon took their toll. A year after „nationalisation“, GUYSUCO already made a loss of G$ 15.6 million, and GUYBAU’s income dropped from G$ 33.3 million in 1977 to G$ 24.1 million in 1979. 220) The losses of GAC and GEC for 1979 were G$ 2.0 million and G$ 24.0 million, respectively. 221) From the very outset, PNC State capital accumulation was losing the battle against foreign capital monopolisation.

 

Very hesitatingly, the Sophia Declaration had made room for private enterprise. 222) In 1979, facing economic decline, the PNC Government was forced to formulate an „Investment Code“, to encourage foreign investments and private enterprises, mainly in the fields of manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, food-production and housing. 223) On the whole, the „King“ of liquor production, D’Aguiar, dominates the private enterprise sector. His „Banks“, which he regards as a „Symbol of Prosperity for all Guyana“, is the only corporation which never comes in the red. It contributes nearly G$ 40 million annually to the public purse from taxes of its products. 224) But, it is also indirectly the cause for escalation of violence, criminality, „choke and rob“, immorality, murder and rape.

 

 

Militarisation, 1970-1984

 

Between 1970 and 1980, the PNC converted its „co-operative socialism“ into a concentrated militarism. Military expenditure rose from G$ 14.8 million (11.1% of the current expenditures) in 1970, to G$ 103 million (21.5%) in 1980. 225) In addition, „military and police personnel have been beefed-up, and sophisticated surveillance (spying) equipment valued at G$ 5 million have been brought recently (1980)“. 226) Between 1980 and 1982, several attempts were made to buy all-purpose military aircraft of the counter-insurgency type from Brazil to be used mainly in internal conflict situations. In 1982, a contract was signed with Brazil to purchase 2 EMB III military planes, costing US$ 10 million, which should „patrol the coastal areas“. 227) Let us scrutinise some of Burnham’s PNC military organisations. We will also make reference to the paramilitary religious cults, the „People’s Temple“ and the „House of Israel.”

 

 

Guyana Defence Force (GDF)

 

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) was established in October/November 1965. However, nine years later, at the time of the Sophia Declaration, in number, the GDF did not yet exceed 4,000. Yet, in 1974, G$ 24.7 million was voted for its military expenditure. 228) Then total budget for the same year was G$ 38,064,342, and it comprised 10% of the national budget. 229) Towards 1980, although the military figures are „top-secret“, it was estimated that the GDF numbered some 20,000 persons, and that G$ 72.7 million was spent on the army. This means that the army expenditure had tripled within 6 years. Currently, the total strength of the GDF itself can be estimated at about 30,000. We will elaborate its associated military wings later.

 

On three occasions, Guyana’s GDF had encountered actual combat: during the 1968/1969 Rupununi „insurrection“; in 1969, when it captured some Surinamese who had invaded the New River Area; and, in 1970, when the Venezuelan Army had occupied Ankoko Island. In reality, the GDF was never engaged in serious battles against foreign invaders. Its military action was mainly directed towards suppressing internal political and labour resistance. 230) In the late 1970s, when the WPA was challenging the Burnham regime, „millions of dollars of field artillery and ammunition arrived in Guyana on Saturday, March 10, 1979“. 231) The cargo had arrived aboard the MACITAT, at the eve of the so-called „survival budget“ of 1979. In the slaying of the popular WPA-leader, Dr. Walter Rodney, it seems that the GDF had played a significant role in the operations. 232)

 

 

The Guyana People’s Militia (GPM)

 

The Guyana People’s Militia (GPM) was set up on December 1, 1976; it had the expressed objective of making „Every Citizen a Soldier“. This should really read „every PNC member a soldier“. By 1977, the GPM numbered 10,000, and essentially it had an Afro-Guyanese composition - which is the general rule throughout Burnham’s military machine. 233) Among other suppressive functions, it assists „the GDP in all its internal and external functions“. It is a reservoir for GDP recruits and a first class reserve for the GDP. 234) Officially, the GPM is defined as „a military body of citizens, trained in military skills, imbued with a high sense of loyalty and dedicated to the nation and its programme for socialist development“. 235) In 1979, Guyana In Brief elaborated its social functions: „Emphasis will be placed on civil defence work such as first aid, rescue operation and fire fighting“. 236) Needless to say, precisely such activities did not appear as the main social priorities of the GPM. Together with the GDF, the GPM forms the military organisational core of Burnham’s political dictatorship. Thus, Guyana has an estimated number of some 50,000 trained and armed forces in 1984. This figure excludes the paramilitary troops with which we will deal later.

 

Even „racism“ was introduced into military matters. According to top PNC officials, Guyana has „better-brand“ citizens, those Afro-Guyanese in the military organisations, and citizens of „inferior quality“, mainly the Indo-Guyanese, who refuse to join such repressive military organs. New Nation, the PNC Party-organ, emphasised: „Militia will produce better brand of citizens“. 237) In a statement, made by Hamilton Green, we can read expressis verbis: „the Guyana People’s Militia, even when not called upon to go into action, will be an agency through which a better brand of citizens are produced“. 238) This military race of „better brand“ people has „to swear loyalty to the PNC Government“; in reality, they constitute a PNC Militia Party. 239)

 

 

Guyana National Service (GNS) and Guyana National Guards (GNG)

 

In July, 1974, Guynews reported that „all arrangements have been completed for the launching of the National Service“. 240) At that time, it was directed by the current head of the GDF, Brigadier Norman McLean. Among its tasks was the provision of „training for national defence“. 241) The expenditure on GNS rose from G$ 6.5 million in 1974 to G$ 20 million in 1980. 242) In 1979, the true face of the GNS was unmasked when the GDP, GNS and the Guyana Police Force (GPF) suppressed the Indo-Guyanese, sugar strikes. Their combined members acted as „scabs“ to maintain „law and order“. 243) By 1982, the GNS, which then had some 10,000 members, progressively was degenerating into a quasi-military, rigidly authoritarian organisation.

 

Contradictions evolved within the military structure, especially as a result of the rising popularity of Hamilton Green within the PNC. Thus, Burnham, as Minister of Defense, permanently has to create new military organisations to act as „national guards“. In 1979, another paramilitary wing of the armed forces came into existence: the National Guard Service (NGS). It is headed by a Senior State Security Officer, Laurie Lewis. The Catholic Standard classified the NGS within the category of the CIA, KGB and MI5. 244) In reality, the NGS forms part of the whole military, espionage and assassination PNC conspiracy against the Guyanese emancipatory movement. It operates in close co-operation with the „House of Israel“ and the „Death Squad“.

 

 

Other Paramilitary Organisations: „House of Israel“ and „Death Squad“

 

Before elaborating the fear-instilling „Death Squad“ and the awe-inspiring „House of Israel“, let us introduce briefly the Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Young Socialist Movement (YSM) and the Women Revolutionary Socialist Movement (WRSM). In 1964, the British Guiana police force had numbered 1,635; by 1977, the Guyana Police Force was 3,751 strong, and today it amounts to about 4,500. 245) Expenditure on the GPF increased from G$ 7.7 million in 1970, to G$ 30.3 million in 1980. 246) However, in spite of this, 293.5% hike, the criminality rate increased accordingly, and since 1976, Crime Chief „Skip“ Roberts did not bother to present further police reports. In 1981, he came to the conclusion: „It is time the police counter violence with violence“. 247) By then, the police force was already converted into a loyal paramilitary suborganisation of the Burnham regime.

 

On October 5, 1975, the „Women’s Auxiliary“ of the GDF was founded. A year later, after the formation of the GPM, it changed its name to the Women’s Revolutionary Socialist Movement (WRSM). Its kith and kin became organised in the Young Socialist Movement (YSM). Over the years, both organisations acquired a quasi-military status „in their manner of dress and patterns of behaviour during ceremonial and important occasions“. 248) Reliable sources estimated that the current membership of both organisations is not much higher than 2,500.

 

Let us now briefly examine Burnham’s PNC „Death Squad“ alias „Hit Squad“ alias „Delta Serra“. In 1963, at the time of the „race riots“, the British Guiana secret service had discovered a „Plan X13“ of a clandestine PNC organisation, led by „Comrade L. F. S. Burnham“. 249) It operated during the critical 1961-1964 period, when internal and external forces threathened the Jagan PPP Government. The then British Commissioner of Police had accused the PNC of „centrally directed thuggery“. A central figure of this PNC „Hit Squad“ was the „Old Man“ (Comrade Van Genderen), an expert in political assassinations. In March, 1979, at the time of the WPA revolt, before Rodney’s assassination, the „Old Man“ was again seen in Georgetown, driving a sleek Mazda car, carrying a yellow PNC Government number-plate. 250) At the same time, Idi Amin’s ex-bodyguard was active in Georgetown, organising „security training“, and he was aided by three other specially-trained Britons. 251) On November 20, 1979, the WPA monitored a secret radio message from „Moonbeam“ to the „Chief of Staff“, which stated, inter alia: „Re Delta Serra, plans for attacks on known WPA members must be fatal“. 252) On June 13, 1980, the planned attack on the most prominent WPA leader, Dr. Walter Rodney, was „fatal“.

 

Let us briefly elaborate the military essence of the two most significant religious cults in Guyana during the 1970s: the „People’s Temple“ and the „House of Israel“. Concerning both, various publications provided extensive scientific data, including background and descriptive materials. 253) The Jonestown holocaust became worldknown, however, its true story, revealing its historic essence, has not been written as yet. We will not add further speculative oil to this horrendous burning prairie of „religious“ mystery cults. In another work, we will introduce some essential investigative starting-points for future unbiased scientific enquiry and impeccable scholarship. 254) It suffices to state that precisely the political functions and military roles of another religious cult, the „House of Israel“ reveal the true military-political nature of the Jonestown „cooperative“ within the general context of PNC military dictatorship and its relation to international geopolitics. Owing to space limitation, we will just briefly analyse metrically the essential features of this Guyanese military phenomenon.

 

Guyana is a secure haven for all unwanted criminals and dangerous fugitives of the world. At least four of the „dozens of US fugitives“, whom the PNC Government had given political sanctuary, enjoy a comfortable life in Guyana. The most prominent figure among them is David Hill, who had fled Cleveland in 1972, while he was appealing conviction of corporate blackmail. 255) Under a new name, Rabbi Edwad Emmanuel Washington of the „House of Israel“, he is leading his 8,000 members cult, which has striking similarities with the „People’s Temple“ of Jim Jones. What Burnham practices on a national scale, the Rabbi applies in his own „House“ - analogous to Jones’ authoritarianism in his „Temple“. 256) Like Jones, and measured by PNC elitist standards, at present, the „Rabbi“ is one of the wealthiest men and property-owners of Guyana. He lives in PNC high society, reflects its grand styles, and adores big and fast luxurious cars. He has nothing to fear, because he knows how to manoeuvre his big friends, L.F.S.B. and Green. Besides, the GDF supplies his „House“ with weapons, and they are charged to the PNC. 257) On May 3, 1982, the „Rabbi“ and his followers organised a May procession through the streets of Georgetown, and he reminded the Opposition that he was a „military force“ to be reckoned with. 258) In this context, Burnham’s message was clear: „the Venezuelans are at the border and the Rabbi is at your door. So mind yourself!“ 259) Externally, Venezuela, and internally, the „Rabbi“ and the „Death Squad“, which are probably synonymous, everynight lull Burnham to a „sound“ sleep, which is filled with UMHEP sweet dreams, and which are enveloped in the aura of a 75,000 man strong military machine. Only now and then, WPA nightmares disturb this involutionary „deep sleep“. During the day, the „Prince“ is shaping his Orwellian future.

 

 

The Working People’s Alliance (WPA)

 

Historical Genesis

 

Between 1966 and 1970, the political contradictions within both the PPP and PNC had deepened. Many Afro-Guyanese leaders, like George Bowman, left Jagan’s PPP and crossed the floor towards the ruling PNC. However, far more detrimental was the departure of Indo-Guyanese popular PPP stalwarts, like Ranji Chandisingh and Vincent Teekah, who left for the PNC in the 1970s. The PNC regime immediately elevated them to „window-dressing“ posts, and was ready to discard them, when they have „served their purpose“. Later, Teekah (assasinated in 1979) became the PNC Minister of Education, and he was succeeded by Chandisingh. After the 1968 elections, extraparliamentary opposition against the monolithic bloc of „race“ parties - PNC and PPP - concentrated itself in university circles. The contradiction PNC-PPP revealed its negation, which since 1950 was latently present within the PPP, and it became the political tendency of the Ratoon Group. Among the members of the Ratoon Group, centred at the University of Guyana, were such prominent figures as: Dr. Walter Rodney, Dr. Clive Thomas, Joshua Ramsammy, Maurice Odle, Miles Fitzpatrick, Tage Singh, Paul Nehru Tennassee (the „Venezuelan spy“) and Omawalee (cousin of Hamilton Green). After Stokeley Carmichael’s lecturing tour of Guyana, „racial“ pressures unravelled the political contradiction within Ratoon, and it split. 260) Consequently, Ramsammy, affected by the influence of international Maoist tendencies, founded his „Movement Against Oppression (MAO), which became active in the Georgetown „Tiger Bay“ slum area, where social unrest (in the Granger style of Trinidad in 1970) had erupted.

 

It was the epoch of the appearance of „Red China“ on the world capitalist platform, consequently, many Maoist tendencies emerged in Guyana and elsewhere. As we will see later, at that time, even Burnham was on a China-trip, as far as foreign policy was concerned. Even Brindley Benn, the Deputy Prime Minister in Jagan’s PPP Government (1961-1964), turned „Maoist“ and founded the Working People’s Vanguard Party (WPVP). Furthermore, PNC cross-overs to the extra-parliamentary opposition occurred. In 1970, Eusi Kwayana (a future WPA leader) broke away from the PNC and founded the Afro-Guyanese „African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa“ (ASCRIA). In 1972, Moses Bhagwan (another future WPA leader) broke away from the PPP and founded the Indo-Guyanese „Indian Political Revolutionary Association“ (IPRA). What was left in both PNC and PPP, after their „revolutionary“ appearance forms gradually disappeared, was the contradictory essence of Burnham’s political dictatorship. Around 1978, in an atmosphere of „critical support“, Burnham and Jagan, hand-in-hand were reaching for the stars. Ratoon openly supported IPRA, which indicated the growing „non-racial“ tendencies, within the nascent future WPA organisation. In general, however, virulent „racism“ was still very active in all these extraparliamentary oppositional movements. For example, at the beginning or the 1970s, the MAO again founded a new pro-Indo-Guyanese revolutionary organisation, the National Liberation Front (NLF), led by Mohammed Insanally. Within the frame work of the international „Marxist-Christian dialogue“ other oppositional groups appeared. Campbell Johnston founded the Guyana Industrial and Social Research Association (GISRA), which introduced Roman Catholic political resistance, centred around the Catholic Standard, which opposes Burnham’s PNC Government ever since, But, even D’Aguiar’s UF, while disintegrating, had produced involutionary contradictory political fruits. Llewellyn John, a former PNC Minister of Home Affairs, formed the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and Dr. Gunraj Kumar founded the Liberator Party (LP) – both were more or less associated with the old UF liberal-capitalist tendency. Although both of them participated in the fraudulent 1973 elections, only the LP won 2 seats; the rest were divided between the PNC (37) and the PPP (14).

 

After the Sophia Declaration, on November 30, 1974, Ratoon, IPRA, ASCRIA and WPVP front  united to form an extraparlimentary front against the monolithic PNC/PPP Government Bloc. This marked the birth of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA). It was an evolutionary product of political exasperation about PPP betrayal of its „communist“ ideals and of economic perplexity about PNC realisation of its „socialist“ objectives. Out of this PPP „negation“ and PNC „affirmation“, the new WPA revolutionary synthesis was born. It quickly shed its Mao-appearance form, when Brindley Bonn’s WPVP broke away in September, 1976; 261) and within the next three years, it rapidly became a „multi-racial“ working class tendency.

 

 

The WPA’s Coming-To-Itself in 1980

 

During the period 1976 to 1980, aided by its real historic father, Jagan’s PPP, the WPA developed towards a strong emancipatory force against PNC „paramountcy“. On July 27, 1979, it declared itself          a revolutionary party with a socialist programme and voiced its determination to overthrow the Burnham regime „by all means necessary“. 262) Under the collective leadership of Walter Rodney, Clive Thomas, Rupert Roopnaraine, Moses Bhagwan and Eusi Kwayana, it became popular among the urban workers, and even penetrated Burnham’s personal „kingdom“, the bauxite industry at Linden. For the first time in Guyanese history, a proletarian tendency was creating revolutionary possibilities, was constructing a working class-for-it-self. A real material threat, the negation to Burnham’s military dictatorship within Guyanese history was forming itself. It had to be „nipped in the bud“, before it could bloom. Burnham’s negative, reactionary impersonation found its affirmative, revolutionary counterpart in Rodney’s emancipatory integrity. One of them had to be destroyed - the historically weaker reproduction. Thus, who had assassinated Rodney historically, dialectics, the science and logic of motion, could reveal very easily. However, the murder of an individual expression of a historical emancipatory process could be a great loss and a momentarily set-back, but it never implies the destruction of historically created material conditions which produce Rodneys, Ches and Cabrals. Based in the fundamental contemporary contradiction „capital-labour“, even in Guyana, they will continuously and continuatively reproduce their social expression and personal exclamation. Currently, the WPA, like the PNC and PPP in the 1960s and 1970s, is shedding its „racial“ and „petty-bourgeois“ appearance forms, and it is embarking on its essential historic objective, on a protractive, evolutionary struggle, leading a revolutionary working class-in-itself. However, as we have noted, its genesis was a painful birth, similarly, its current revolutionary synthesis towards a real proletarian party is accompanied by many perils. Consequently, we should not glorify the WPA as the new „Saviour“ or the old „Beelzebub“ of Guyana. What is a name? Future blossoming and flowering of the Guyanese proletarian movement will „smell just as sweet“. In this sense, the revolutionary flambeau „flamboyantly will blaze the trail which Rodney historically had illuminated, by paying the highest human price. Already now, its emancipatory radiation and radiance is generating severe repercussions, is emanating social dynamite within the Burnham-Green contradiction, in the very heart of the decomposing PNC.

 

 

Referendum to „Socialist“ Constitution, to Second Republic: Its Political Essence

 

The 1966 British Guiana Constitution Conference in London had accepted the draft constitution submitted by the PNC, which fundamentally was based on the „Westminster Model“. However, within the legal framework of the Guyana Constitution, in the 1970s, the PNC could not realise its „socialist“ dream of „paramountcy“ of the ruling party over the Government, and establish its open authoritarian military dictatorship. As a result of this complication, the PNC Government, with cunning „socialist“ tricks, dictated a „referendum“ to the Guyanese peoples, whose outcome would give the PNC a blank cheque to rob them of all their human resources and rights. In a typical PNC style, the „referendum“ of of July 10, was „rigged“ mercilessly. 263) On July 16, 1978, New Nation proudly reported: „Total YES votes amounted to an impressive 419,936 which represents 97.4% of the 431,120 votes cast from the local and overseas electoral role of 609,225 voters. NO votes totalled a meagre 8,956 at home and abroad - 2.07%. Spoilt votes amounted to 2,228 or 0.51%.“ 264)

 

After this political coup d’etat, without any further hindrances, the PNC could pass its new „socialist“ Constitution and inaugurate the Second Republic in 1980. Burnham became, all in one, Supreme Executive President, Supreme Executive Authority, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. 265) Thus, he combines the powers of a Prime Minister under the „Westminster Model“ and those of an executive President under the US constitution. A more detailed analysis of this usurpation of political power is certainly necessary, but it would surpass the limits of our short essay and would deviate the analytic flow of its argumentation. However, for further reading, we would suggest other excellent political analyses. 266)

 

On December 15, 1980, general elections under the provisions of the new constitution had been held, and the „rigged“ results were as follows: „PNC 77.04% of votes cast - 41 seats; PPP 19.03% - 10 seats; UF 2.86% - 2 seats.“ 267) Hence, we see that politically D’Aguiar’s United Force is recovering economically again, mainly due to the current IMF/World Bank pressures to give private enterprise a new lease of life. In addition, as a result of this political manoeuvre, Burnham’s PNC Government gave its „co-operative socialism“ a parliamentary, democratic „human“ face. But, the PNC is fooling only itself. In reality, the 1978-1980 political events, including their Draconian aftermath, very clearly reflect the PNC version of the historical crime which the South African „racist“ apartheid Government, ever since 1960, had committed against its oppressed Black peoples. 268)

 

 

Foreign Policy in Guyana: General Summary

 

We will conclude this part with a general summary of Guyana’s foreign policy between 1966 and 1984. It will be followed by a brief analysis of the Guyana/Venezuela border dispute since the termination of the Protocol of Port-of-Spain. Thereafter, we will re-evaluate and revalorise our central hypothesis and its logical corollaries in the light of future Guyanese historical processes. As we have outlined, between 1966 and 1970, the Guyana Government had followed a consistent pro-imperialist, anti-Soviet, anti-China and anti-Cuban foreign policy. During that period, Burnham’s Commonwealth Caribbean integrationist efforts had paved the road towards „non-alignment“, and, consequently, towards Africa and the East. At, the beginning of the 1970s, the People’s Republic of China was recovering from its „Cultural Revolution“ and it began to aspire for „socialist“ influence in the „Third World“, especially in Africa. Before 1970, the PNC had recognised Taiwan and had accepted its technical assistance teams. This attitude corresponded with general US foreign policy. When the administrations of Richard Nixon and Edward Reath indicated a new attitude within their „Red China“ policies, Burnham rapidly decided to outdo them. As pre-condition, within the context of his „non-alignment thrust“, although very reluctantly, Burnham had to renounce his past intimacy with London and Washington. 269) The Africa „foreign policy safari“ of 1970 ushered in this PNC new look. The Lusaka Non-Alignment Summit Conference of 1970, and Burnham’s promise to donate to the African Liberation Fund, opened up new vistas for PNC opportunism and vacillation in foreign policy.

 

The 1971 Singapore Commonwealth Ministers’ Conference, which Burnham attended, assisted him to make a first „Eastern“ move. Having internal „racial“ problems in mind, in India, he had cordial talks with Mrs. Gandhi. These were reported in detail in Guyanese means of social communication. We would recall that in the same year the World Bank had refused a loan to Guyana, which functioned as a warning to Burnham about the real material base of his „Eastern“ drive. However, the PNC was cognisant of the fact that it could not expect much economic aid from „Third World“ or „nonaligned“ countries. On the other hand, gamble for votes of these countries in the United Nations, especially concerning Guyana’s „border disputes“, was a chance worth taking. In 1971, Guyana and the People’s Republic of China hosted each other reciprocally. 270) China promised Guyana G$ 30 million worth of, trade, technical and financial assistance, to be spread over 5 years. 271) Consequently, in the United Nations, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago voted for the pro-Peking resolution, submitted by Albania. In spite of the fact, that Barbados and Jamaica abstained, and Venezuela, Haiti and the Dominican Republic voted with the USA, no reprisals came from Washington, because, in any case, the US tide was moving calmly eastwards. In April, 1971, Burnham had established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, thus he kept all doors open. In the years that followed, however, the Chinese and the Soviets quickly grasped the essence of PNC foreign policy; and, very reluctantly, „communist“ trade and „rubles“ drifted towards the „Garden City“ of South America. Currently, Chinese diplomatic relations are merely nominal, and the Soviet ones are essentially of a strategic nature, especially after the debacle of Grenada.

 

 

From 1974 onwards, diplomatic trade and cultural relations between Cuba and Guyana had improved rapidly. But, Burnham balanced this trend with similar relations to Haiti. 272) On January 18, 1976, the Government of Guyana announced its recognition of the MPLA Government of Angola. 273) Earlier, secretly, it had supported Agostinho Neto in his liberation struggle, and had permitted Cuban planes on their way to Luanda, to refuel in Georgetown. 274) On October 6, 1976, the „Cubana Disaster’’ occurred, an event which affected Guyana’s relations with the USA and Venezuela. A Cubana de Aviacion (Flight CU-455) exploded shortly after taking off from Grantley Adams International Airport, en route for Cuba, killing all 73 people on board - among them 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese and 5 North Koreans. Cuba and Guyana accused the CIA-FBI complex of having been involved in this gruesome act. 275) Jagan and Burnham saw this as another „destabilisation“ act, because Guyana „had chosen the Socialist Path“. 276) In a public statement, Burnham stressed that the PNC „was bent on socialism“ and it did not want to „prostitute itself“ in the „sinful bed“ with „rightists“, who are „agents of an Agency“. This was an indirect attack on D’Aguiar’s UF. In the same speech of October 6, 1976, Burnham accused the American Embassy in Caracas of having masterminded this sabotage act. Many years later, a Cuban exile, Ricardo Morales, confessed to US Attorney Douglas Williams, in front of Circuit Judge, Gerald Kogan, that the CIA and FBI were involved in the above shameful, inhuman act. 277) Until today, the trial of the accused, the Cuban exiles, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posadas Carriles, and the Venezuelans, Freddy Lugo and Hernan Ricardo Lozano, is still lingering on in Caracas. 278)

 

At that time, in 1976, Guyana continued her „expanding pattern of relations with Eastern Europe and China, Middle-Eastern and African and Asian States“ 279), but she gave Caribbean and South American relations priority. A year earlier, in 1975, Burnham had visited Venezuela, in an attempt to further Guyanese participation in the Latin American System (SELA). Until 1977, the PNC was mainly preoccupied with international „decolonisation“ issues, especially in Southern Africa, „Third World Solidarity“ and the New International Economic Order. 280) The PPP, which had moved from „non-cooperation and civic resistance“ (1973) to „critical support“ of the PNC, as late as 1979, still praised the PNC for its „more forth right position against  imperialism, both in domestic and foreign policy“. 281) This was long after Burnham had signed the secret agreement with the US-controlled „Trojan Horse“, the IMF. Also, it was long after the US President Gerald Ford had stated in 1975, that „the United States had built a meaningful relationship with Guyana through the years on the basis of a mutual understanding, distinct aspirations and many broad and frank discussions“. 282) This statement came when PNC „co-operative socialism“ had reached its zenith, and was revealing its essential neo-colonialist core. The above is an excellent example to demonstrate, what we have stressed earlier, that neither PNC „socialism“ nor PPP „communism“ had ever reflected the true, emancipatory interests of Guyana’s working peoples.

 

Since 1977, the PNC regime openly shifted its foreign policy in favour of the United States and the „West“. The 1977 and 1978 US Annual State Department Reports gave Burrham a „clean vest“; they even assisted the PNC in its cover-ups for the Jonestown suicide-massacre. The IMF, the Britsh Labour Government and the EEC, all came to the rescue of „co-operative socialism“. Jagan’s PPP, since 1980, again began to contradict PNC policies, and by 1983, the „Leader of the Opposition“ openly condemned even the WPA. 283) This pro-Western, pro-imperialist PNC Government trend in Guyanese foreign policy continues until today. The unsuccessful flirting with the World Bank/IMF complex and international corporations of the 1982/1983 period verifies this unquestionable truth. Currently, PNC foreign policy had shed all its past appearance leaves and its true neo-colonialist stem is visible. Let us now examine in general outline what this denotes within the context of the Guyana/Venezuela Limitrophe problem.

 

 

The Termination of the Protocol of Port-of-Spain and its Aftermath

 

Ever since the signing of the Protocol of Port-of-Spain in 1970, nothing substantial to solve the border conflict had materialised. From April 2-3, 1981, Burnham visited Caracas, and he had talks with his Venezuelan counterpart, President Herrera Campins. On his return to Georgetown, on April 4, 1981, he gave a press conference at the Film Centre. On the same day, President Campins had issued a statement at Miraflores, terminating officially the Protocol. 284) Inter alia, he had „ratified Venezuela’s claim to the Essequibo Territory“ and „rejected any compromise incompatible with Venezuela’s claim“. 285) As mentioned earlier, he also rejected the UMHEP programme.

 

Before continuing, and before stating Burnham’s reaction, it is pertinent to note that in the border conflict discussions, which took place on November 5, 1963, and which terminated with the signing of the Geneva Agreement in February, 1966, the Guyanese delegation, headed by Burnham, played a significant role. Later, Burnham boasted that this agreement was the result of „brilliant statesmanship“. Consequently, de jure and de facto, Burnham, with his signature had underlined that a „boundary dispute“ between Guyana and Venezuela does exist. The „no blade of grass“ smokescreen of 1968/1969 cannot obliterate this historical fact. Whether he should have signed this agreement or not, and why a actually signed, are different stories altogether. 286) Even in his reply to the Miraflores statement, Burnham displayed the PNC opportunistic, inconsequent and inconsistent attitude in foreign policies. Now, suddenly, his „Government’s position“ was that „the 1899 Arbitral award was entirely valid“. 287) Now, Venezuela is the „New Conquistador“ and its claim is titulated as „Venezuelan Revanchism“. What about the claim of Guyana’s impoverished working masses - including those in the Essequibo - for a decent, healthy, democratic life, which has been „despoiled“ by PNC conquistadores and chauvinism? What has the man, who exclaimed, on March 26, 1981, „I am the Government“, to say about his „healthy“ state of life - „I smoke, I drink, I ride, I swim, I shoot... I am?” 288) As we have noted until now, all these have nothing to do with either socialism or communism. At least, in the 1983 general elections, the „revanchists“ and „conquistadores“ have demonstrated what they understand by democracy. As a result of a complete deadlock on the issue, reflected in the different choices of means of settlement provided by the Geneva Agreement, both countries had to refer the matter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Javier Perez de Cuellar. 289) Currently, the negotiations are still in process, and no satisfactory solution is as yet in sight.

 

Concerning the above juridical aspects of the conflict, and its implications within the context of international law and agreements, we will leave the matter to the appropriate qualified experts and authorities to accomplish legal disentanglement and to arrive at just solutions and resolutions. In conclusion, within the framework of our scientific investigation, a simple judgement stares in the face of contemporary historical reality. In fact, the historical key to the material essence of the problem both Venezuela and Guyana have supplied, when they concentrated their claim in its most realistic substance: The Essequibo Is Ours! 290) „Ours“ is what „We“ have produced historically on the planet, Earth. Who have produced the Essequibo, to them it belongs. Who has exploited the Essequibo and its peoples has no legitimate, historical right to the territory. As corollary, who intends to do likewise, has even a lesser human right or claim. Consequently, if we apply materialist and historical dialectics, only when the Essequibo belongs to the Guyanese and Venezuelan peoples, in fact, to all the South American working peoples, and its human and natural resources are utilised in a democratic manner for the emancipation of mankind, only then, the historical, material conditions can be created for a lasting solution. Burnham cannot permit the solution of any of his border disputes, because it would mean the immediate end of his PNC regime. For Venezuela, to solve this conflict, is to solve, at the same time, Guyana’s real historical problem, that is, to contribute to the economic, political and social emancipation of the Essequibo and Guyana as a whole.

 

 

That Which Was To Be Proved

 

1)      Every epistemology has, or must have, a scientific method and methodology. Its truth can only be verified in universal and in historical reality, by using the scientific tool of social theory-praxis. Our scientific, dialectical method revealed essential features, processes, phenomena, contradictions and synthesis within Guyanese history, and it has placed them in a global and historical context of evolution-involution. Consequently, the first verification of our central hypothesis was the test of the truth and accuracy of its method in human, social and historical reality.

 

2)      We have not only proved that Guyanese history is a particular process, within the context of general human production, we have also demonstrated that, since 1499, it became an extraterritorially - directed colonialist - imperialist process of human exploitation, oppression, suppression and discrimination. It generated its specific Guyanese social contradictions, which essentially contained total emancipatory latencies, tendencies and developments against capitalist processes of British colonial subjugation and current neo-colonial domination.

 

3)      Guianese Nationalism, like most nationalisms of the „Third World“ of the postwar epoch, had an anti-imperialist drive, but not necessarily an anti-capitalist material essence. The PPP founded by Jagan and Burnham expressed the zenith of of Guianese Nationalism. It revealed its real essence, by discarding its appearance forms, within the context of evolving Guyanese history.

 

4)      Jagan’s „communism“ and Burnham’s „socialism“, in microcosmos, reproduced all the social contradictions of the epoch of „de-colonisation“. Progressively, they favoured the post-war international division of labour, and international division of the world into „spheres of influence“ of the two Super Powers. Until today, Jagan represents Soviet interests, and Burnham’s „co-operative socialism“ is the special version of contemporary neo-colonialism. This ideological contradiction resulted in the creation of the WPA in the mid-1970s.

 

5)      Ever since the First Republic (1970), progressively Burnham’s „paramountcy“ and Jagan’s „opposition“ had crystallised into the material reality of the PNC military dictatorship. Without Jagan’s „opposition“, it could not have developed its current neofascistic, neo-colonial, „racist“ material essence. In the late 1970s, this PNC/PPP unity-and-contradiction-of-opposites had produced its germinating historical negation, Rodney’s WPA, as a political party.

 

6)      Logically, in the 1980s, at the time of the Second Republic, the PNC/PPP Government bloc openly had to negate the working class interests as reflected in the WPA. However, the current form, organisation, strategy and policy of the WPA do not yet reflect a true challenge to the oppressive Guyana Government. It cannot bring about immediate social revolutionary qualitative changes in Guyanese society. The historical, material and intellectual conditions, nationally and internationally, are not as yet existent for such a revolutionary proletarian step forward.

 

7)      Consequently, the acquisition of political power, by any revolutionary political party, existent or newborn, still will not signify the control and direction of economic power in Guyana in the immediate future. It will only introduce quantitative social reforms, but not social or socialist revolution.

 

8)      Because the serious monetary repercussions in the Guyanese bankrupt economy - which strangles PNC State capital accumulation - reflect themselves directly in PNC class formation; consequently they also generate involutionary political processes. Already, the Burnham-Green contradiction in the PNC indicates further decompository processes. But, the dethronement of PNC „paramountcy“ and military dictatorship will be  an arduous, protracted struggle. Except the hovering possibility of a „palace revolution“, or a desperate, violent „armed conspiracy“, or even a manipulated coup d’etat, which will not bring about essential structural social changes, the next five years, have no revolutionary „surprise“ in store for Guyana.

 

9)      Although social revolutions have no recipes, no time-table and there is nothing „classical“ about them, world permanent revolution, due to unequal and combined processes, continuity and discontinuity, at any time, can change latencies and tendencies into „surprising“ historical realities; certainly, it could affect the historical development of Guyana.

 

10)    Finally, because of their limitrofe problems, their geographical proximity, their historical relations and their human, democratic aspirations, Guyana, Venezuela and Suriname, but also the rest of South America and the Caribbean, will have the last revolutionary word on this matter. They themselves have to accomplish the historic task of creating total Human Freedom. Only then, the Malvinas or the Essequibo will be truly Ours.