Marxism-Leninism, socialism no longer relevant to PPP – Jagdeo

Last Updated on Sunday, 5 May 2024, 23:28 by Writer

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bharrat Jagdeo on Sunday said Marxism-Leninism and socialism were removed from that political organisation’s constitution because the Cold War had ended, ideologies mean little to party supporters and the time had come to bring the constitution in line with international economic realities.

Describing the erasure of those ideological and theoretical references as “fundamental changes”, Mr Jagdeo described Marxism-Leninism as an “alien concept now”. “We had long moved away in practice from the Marxism-Leninism and the socialism of a different era. Now, our constitution has been brought in line with the practice of the government,” said Mr Jagdeo, a Russian-trained economist who inherited and embraced the People’s National Congress’ (PNC) shift from socialism to a market-oriented economy in 1992 under a World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Structural Adjustment Programme. Today, the historically leftist PPP is unabashed about its pro-private sector posture and regards the United States and the United Kingdom as its major trading and security sector partners.

He said those changes would aid in giving the party a greater standing internationally, with the end of the Cold War between socialist/communist and capitalist countries in 1991. “The world has moved on from the Cold War era, from the era of ‘isms’ so in that sense we are bringing our constitution more in line with the prevailing ideology in the world where you do have parties and countries that practice working class ideologies or philosophies or are guided by those without having to mention an ‘ism’ behind them,” he said.

Instead, he said they are driven by pro-poor and pro-working class policies but do not contradict the creation of wealth by the private sector. The PPP General Secretary said after a more than one-hour long debate, those ideological and theoretical references were expunged from their party’s constitution by delegates who recognised that those “isms” did not matter to them. “That is really the reality of Guyana today. If you talk to our membership, many that came in here , they don’t even know about Marxism-Leninism members of the party. Many young people you talk to today, they don’t know about that and then the constitution of the party said we had to teach them about Marxism-Leninism instead of teaching them about our history, our own struggles, our own achievements so that they can propagate the party,” he said.

Mr. Jagdeo said the party’s ideological institution, Accabre College, would be transformed into teaching party members about party history, struggle and achievements. “Accabre, in the past, it was a bit more ideological so now we can strip it of the ideology, focus on the party, the things I mentioned – our core philosophy, our history – but also focus on leadership training for these people because we want the next generation of leaders to take over, basically, or lead the party in the future,” he said.

Mr Jagdeo defended the PPP’s decision to retain Democratic Centralism, saying it was akin to the work of a company’s Board of Directors where they discuss issues and arrive at agreed decisions with which all of them must comply.