The tragedy of the PPP, the fact that it today finds itself in the unexpected and unpredictable position of not having a parliamentary majority, must be laid squarely at the feet of its leadership, and especially the old guard.
Blame for this state of affairs must be apportioned fairly. It is not a case of the old dying and the new not yet being born. That is a plaster to conceal the sore, the cover-up of the decay that set it a long time ago. The new guard is not still born; it has had its first gulp of oxygen under the midwifery of the old guard.
There is no interregnum within the PPP or within the country. There has been neglect, by the old guard, of its responsibilities to secure the future of the party and the country. The old guard has failed Cheddi.
The old guard must accept some responsibility for the state of affairs of the country. It is the old guard who felt that the demands of running the affairs of the country would best be entrusted to those with more nimble minds, stronger legs and greater stamina. They hoped to control these inexperienced hands from behind the scenes, but forgot that once the perquisites of power were tasted once the young got their feet wet they were not ever going to become surrogates to anyone.
The new guards are the creatures of the old, the only difference being that the old guard has been unable to shackle them or to control them in the way they thought they would have been able to do.
The old guard is dying and is being disinherited of their legacy by those who they created. This is poetic justice for having abandoned the ideology that the party has long stood for.
The PPP was always vulnerable to such an eventuality. Ideologically the PPP lacked depth. They had a great thinker in Cheddi Jagan but because the party had longed developed a suspicion over the intellectual types, because loyalty often trumped ability in the apportioning of positions within the party, there was a neglect of ideological formation within and this was most evident when the PPP regained political office in 1992.
But it was not just the failings of ideological training within the party that is responsible for the state that the PPP finds itself in today. It is also the abandonment by many trusted comrades of what the party has always stood for. Many comrades became so bedazzled by power and obsessed with the perquisites of wealth and fame and forgot the ideology to which they had sworn loyalty. They forgot that it was on backs of the working class that they regained power, instead forging alliances and strong friendships with the opportunistic capitalist class in the country.
Too many within the PPP have abandoned socialism and they have abandoned it too easily. Marxists analysis and scientific rationalization have been absent from the PPP’s assessment of the local political and economic situation.
Instead the party has succumbed to the temptation of running the affairs of the country abased on externally-driven edicts, especially those prescribed by international funding agencies and foreign consultants. Where was the old guard when the technocratic rather than the ideological solution to the country’s problems were being applied? They were trying to pull strings behind the scenes, abandoning the role of the PPP as the vanguard party and in some instances profiting from the new dispensation.
If the old is dying, may they go in peace because they have failed the PPP, failed the country and most painfully failed the working people. The old is dying, and may God bless their souls, but long before that many of those who were entrusted with continuing the work of Cheddi has fled his ideals, fled the ideology of the party and abandoned the working class.
True revolutionaries do not fight for power; they do not connive and plot for positions; they do not cavort with the rich and powerful to the extent that some of them have now joined the economic class. True revolutionaries do not abandon ship at the first hurdle. True revolutionaries do not forsake the struggle.
But all of this has happened because the party distanced itself from the ideology which had long cemented it. The old guard within allowed a young brigade of self- serving individuals to run amok within the party, to seize the party on behalf of a rapacious economic class. The old guard must therefore hold responsibility for this state of affairs. The old is dying but the new is their creation.
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