THE PPP HAS TO RETRACE ITS STEPS
Any analysis of the fears engraved within the psyche of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is always going to be flawed if it ignores the important question of class domination. Such flawed analyses will inevitably, in turn, produce explanations that swing like a pendulum from one extreme to the other.
Initially for example, an inside view of the PPP’s loss of its parliamentary majority was attributable in the main to “incumbency fatigue”. But later when the inside view became de-linked from the party, different claims arose as to why the PPP now finds itself like Robert Mugabe did in Zimbabwe, when he too failed to win a majority in the presidential elections despite the historical greatness of his party.
The failure of the PPP to secure a parliamentary majority has allowed all manner of political gofers to use a razor-slim majority to flex their political muscles and in the process subject the country’s political system to a great deal of uncertainty while these underlings wet their political feet.
To reverse this instability requires majority rule. Such a system has ensured political stability. But correcting the faults that led to the PPP’s failings in 2011 requires a sound examination of what precipitated the marginal decline in the PPP fortunes.
Any analysis of what caused this decline that ignores class considerations, and particularly how the PPP has shifted away from its working class origins, is going to lead the PPP further down that the slippery slope of decline, as this will destroy the legacy of Cheddi Jagan.
The founder of the PPP was not a transformational leader. The very concept of transformation, as it is now understood – a watered down version of social and economic change along capitalist lines – would have been an anathema to everything that Cheddi Jagan stood for.
Cheddi Jagan was a revolutionary. He was the most respected 20th century political revolutionary, apart from Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, to have emerged from this part of the globe.
The PPP has produced many champions, including a Champion of the Earth. But in Cheddi Jagan the PPP had its purest and noblest working class champion. Whatever views one may have about his political ideology, Cheddi Jagan never deserted the working class. The same cannot be said for many of those who were his protégés. This is where the PPP failed badly and this is one of the principal reasons why it failed to gain a parliamentary majority. The PPP strayed from its working class roots, strayed in fact so far that it reached the stage where at one time a motion was entertained at one of its Congresses calling for the removal of references to Marxism- Leninism from its constitution. This was an attempt at making the party ideologically sterile.
The ease with which those who once flew the red banner abandoned the working class orientation of the PPP is far more miraculous than the biblical parting of the Red Sea. It exposed the fact that the PPP had failed to ingrain a revolutionary instinct within the structure of the party.
The bourgeoisie did not need a change in the constitution to stamp their domination and co-opt the leadership of the PPP. This was eventually achieved without much of a whimper from those who had before so lustfully sang “The Internationale.”
Today, many of the cadres of the PPP who once preached the purity of Marxism- Leninism are now masquerading as social democrats while being encamped within the capitalist class. These once dyed-in-the-wool Marxists are now shamelessly the errand boys of rich capitalists. They have lost their philosophical attachment to the working class, having long separated themselves materially from that class by their conspicuous and lavish lifestyles.
This is why they were absent on the ground in the run-up to the 2011 elections. It is not that they neglected to attend to the needs of their constituents. It is simply that many of them had long become divorced from the working class, who were mere pawns to satisfy their political ambitions.
The working class, however, is conscious of this neglect, and this is why when on the eve of the general election of 2011, there was a protest by sugar workers and the PPP dispatched their champion to try to appease the workers, this champion was told in no uncertain manner that it was too late: “Boat done gone a fall”.
If the PPP wants to reverse its decline, it should ignore all the flawed analyses that it is receiving free of cost. It should seek reconciliation with the working class by retracing its steps. But to do this, it has to kick out a great many in its present leadership. However, dislodging the lackeys of the oligarchic class which now dominates the PPP will take some kicking.