There can hardly be a successful counter-argument to the one that adumbrates the subordination of the PPP leadership to a very wealthy cabal of businessmen people who are fairly young in age (comparatively speaking) and in possession of unlimited State concession.
While one appreciates Mr. Ralph Ramkarran’s reminder of how venal the PPP has become, in all honesty his story of the PPP becoming prisoner of the money people is not new to the keen observer of politics.
The penetration of the PPP by the irredeemable nouveau riche is so deep and extensive that the theory advanced here is that the PPP cannot transform itself into a nationalist force that can oversee acceptable levels of the distribution of wealth that a working class government by nature must do.
Mr. Ramkarran and others can preach to eternity, the dialectical reality is that the PPP has become an unhistorical force that will only survive through continued tyranny.
There is no class schism within the PPP as what obtained in many communist countries, which can allow for the consolidation of a faction that wants to re-mould the party into its pristine self. In the USSR and China, the communist party always had factions that were split in their ideological orientation.
This schism allowed for the accession to power of Nikita Khrushchev and eventually the unique personality of Mikhail Gorbachev in the USSR and the fall then resurrection of Deng Xiaoping in China. In Cuba, ideological splits are common in the party, with Castro always the eventual decider. In Grenada, the factions were unable to curb their vexations.
Since Jagdeo took power, he has obliterated the ideological groups in the PPP, virtually creating a one-dimensional party, loyal to a certain type of capitalism that is not neo-liberal or old-fashioned, but downright depraved. A good description of this is Clive Thomas’s theory of the criminalized state.
Jagdeo’s first move was the ouster of a small vocal, non-corruptible unit headed by Khemraj Ramjattan. Then the knife was turned to Moses Nagamootoo. His ostracization was facilitated by Mrs. Jagan’s hatred for Moses. Next came the voluntary seclusion of Mrs. Jagan. She still represented the essential Jaganite party, but accepted the fact that age had consigned her to history. That left five persons.
One was Komal Chand. Though not indebted to the nouveau riche class, Chand was simply not interested in maintaining any Jaganite grouping inside the PPP that could act as a brake on Jagdeo’s intentions. He was never interested in such a formation. Another Jaganite was Navin Chandarpal. Like Chand, he was not in the pay of Jagdeo’s wealthy cabal. But Chandarpal went in a personal direction that left him in a strategically weak position to oppose Jagdeo.
Harry Nokta and Reepu Daman Persaud were sidelined, but they accepted their fate in exchange for handsome rewards to their children. Today both men’s sons are in receipt of lucrative contracts.
Only one other person was left who carried the traditional torch of the PPP and that was Ralph Ramkarran. Being the son of one of Cheddi Jagan’s heroes – Ramkarran’s own father, Boysie – Ralph was essentially closest to the original PPP that Jagan and his father nurtured. Ramkarran tried to fool Jagdeo. Just before the PPP chose its 2011 presidential candidate, Ramkaran wrote a nauseatingly sycophantic panegyric of Jagdeo in the Chronicle even implying that he was the best President Guyana ever had, eclipsing Jagan himself.
Ramkarran wanted the nomination and he knew only Jagdeo would have decided that. But Jagdeo devastated Ramkarran. Jagdeo was not the fool Ramkarran thought he was. Jagdeo ignored the Chronicle eulogy of Ramkarran.
A Ramkarran presidency meant the end of Jagdeo’s control of the PPP and also the power of Jagdeo in the wider society. Jagdeo was not going to let Ramkarran get the nomination because he knew as President, Ramkarran would not accept to be a little boy. The rest is history.
From 2001, Jagdeo literally recalibrated the PPP to serve his economic and power interests. The party was not only silent on the stupendous amassing of wealth by Jagdeo’s friends, but the leadership itself was patronized by the nouveau riche. None in the PPP hierarchy refused the patronage of the nouveau riche.
The present structure of the PPP is so dominated by Jagdeoite loyalties that there is no dialectical possibility that an alternative thinking can emerge. The denouement will be the congress in August, where Jagdeo will secure the votes to become General-Secretary. There are only two pathways the PPP can go in – continued control of Guyana with rampant, criminalized capitalism or the loss of power which will see the end of the PPP.
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