Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
The dust has settled on the present political-ideological disposition of the PPPC. The admission of former party General Secretaries Donald Ramotar and Clement Rohee that the PPPC is no longer a Marxist/Leninist party warrants national discourse. This confirmation came after an observation made by the former PPPC Executive member and former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran (August 22.2021, in his column, The Conversation Tree).
In justifying their support for Mr Ramkarran’s observation, both Ramotar and Rohee cited shifts in the party political/economic and social programmes: since 1992, after the party Founder Leader Dr Cheddi Jagan became President of Guyana.
I held back this letter for weeks to see the responses of letter writers, columnists and Indian political activists to this revelation. To date, I have seen two responses: the latest is a letter in the Stabroek News captioned, “PPP has long ceased being a working class party” from an anonymous writer (Sep 22 2021). Previously the Village Voice newspaper had commented on the matter. The marked silence by PPPC members, supporters, Indian activists and Freddie Kissoon who now makes it his life mission to write on the opposition, African organisations and their politics, amounts to a concerted effort to avoid this issue becoming the subject of the public examination it deserves.
If a senior WPA official has said that the party is no longer a Rodneyite party, there would have been an unending stream of letters criticising the party’s leadership. Not so for the PPPC. In Guyanese politics, the WPA has become a victim of double standards and hypocrisy by critics of the party. This is so even when these critics claim objectivity. But they don’t apply the same yardstick used to judge the WPA to the PPPC and other parties. The PPPC is justified in making political and ideological shifts as that party leadership finds necessary. On the other hand, our detractors want the WPA to be a political dinosaur, rooted in the past and unresponsive to the changing politics in the country/region and the world.
Unsurprisingly, PPPC propagandists and Indian activists in dealing with the WPA opportunistically cite Walter Rodney’s words and positions on politics as sacrosanct but do not do the same for Cheddi Jagan and the PPPC. In doing so they pretend that they are defending Walter Rodney’s ideas and legacy, when in fact they are actually degrading Rodney whose politics were always guided by an objective examination of situations, and when necessary adjusting previous positions to reflect the concrete realities.
When the Soviet Union’s then President Mikhail Gorbachev introduced his reforms under the titles of Perestroika and Glasnost it created a wave of antagonistic debates and struggles in parties allied to the USSR resulting in the demise of contesting factions. None of this took place in the PPP despite its historic claim to be a Marxist/Leninist party with an allegiance to the USSR. I remember the quiet debate among comrades as to what this non response by Jagan and the PPP meant. Many of us had concluded that the difference between the PPP and other Soviet allied parties was the fact that the PPP was an Indian Party hiding under the banner of Marxism/ Leninism.
I conclude by making the above point to say that the recent revelations by top PPPC leaders (Donald Ramotar and Clement Rohee) that the party is no longer a Marxist/Leninist party is no surprise to me. It was just a matter of time.