Suppression of News in and about Grenada,
and about its Revolutionary History
Grenada is a small island country in the Caribbean, which was long a colony, first of France and then of Britain. Even since its nominal independence in 1974 it has still mostly been a neo-colony of British and American imperialism, except for a brief revolutionary independence period from 1979 to October 1983.
On March 13, 1979, a revolutionary party called the New Jewel Movement (from an acronym), which was led by Maurice Bishop (1944-1983) and Bernard Coard (1945- ), seized power from the autocratic comprador Prime Minister, Eric Gairy, who was out of the country at the time. This occurred in a bloodless coup d’état rather than in a mass insurrection. New Jewel and its leadership were largely inspired by the Cuban Revolution and its methods and policies; and its leaders had numerous past connections with Soviet-style revisionist parties. (Coard, for example had been a member of the CPUSA [in 1967], the CP of Great Britain, and a similar party in Jamaica.) But once in power they did attempt to make a number of progressive reforms in Grenadian society.
However, after a few years, the contradictions within the New Jewel Movement itself became extreme. Maurice Bishop was going quite slow in the nationalization of industry and agriculture, which to the “more radical” wing of New Jewel was viewed as identical to going slow in the transformation of society into socialism. Bishop also had the dubious idea that promoting Grenada as a tourist haven for rich Americans and Europeans was a major part of the solution to the country’s economic problems. But doing so required building a very expensive international airport; not offending the U.S. too much with its economics and international alignments; and maintaining a “mixed economy”, part capitalist, part “socialist” (or state capitalist?); and so forth. This slow pace of nationalization, and these other compromises, so offended Coard and the new “People’s Revolutionary Army” which had been set up following the revolution, that they felt Bishop had to go. So the “radicals” staged their own coup, deposed Bishop and put him under house arrest.
However, Bishop had widespread public support, so his arrest led to large street demonstrations, one of which freed him from house arrest. But the Army, after some further conflict and chaos, re-captured Bishop and executed him and seven associates.
All this internal conflict gave the U.S. imperialists the opening they needed to militarily invade Grenada a few days later (October 25, 1983) and oust the New Jewel Movement completely. The U.S. then re-established a comprador regime in Grenada.
A few of the documents below have been copied from the Marxist Internet Archive (MIA) at: https://www.marxists.org/history/grenada/index.htm Additional documents, in HTML format, can be found there. The versions we have copied here have been transformed into PDF files.
If you know of other suppressed or hard to find documents, news reports or international commentary about Grenada that should be posted here, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Suppression of Free Speech and Democratic Rights in Grenada
- “Grenada and the End of Free Speech”, by Jack Darrant, September 30, 2013, online at: https://www.shoutoutuk.org/2013/09/30/grenada-and-the-end-of-free-speech/ Condemns Grenada’s 2013 Electronic Crimes Act: “The draconian legislation has attracted blistering international condemnation due to the totalitarian nature of the provisions within it. Under the act, sending any electronic communication which could be considered an insult (to its recipient or anybody else), regardless of whether it is true, will be punishable by one year’s imprisonment. ‘Annoying’ someone else on the Internet attracts a three-year sentence, as does posting any information that is untrue and could create ‘ill will’.”
- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Organization of American States), Report No. 2/96 Case 10.325 (Grenada), March 1, 1996. Online at: http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/95eng/Grenada10325.htm [Even though the OAS is a reactionary association of countries dominated by the imperialist United States, this OAS agency found that the government of Grenada had in fact been banning and seizing books by and about Maurice Bishop and the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada (1979-1983), as well as works by or about Fidel Castro and Malcolm X, and other radical or revolutionary materials. Seven years after a complaint was filed in 1989, Grenada was finally ordered by this OAS agency to stop banning and seizing books, though we do not know if it has actually obeyed that order. —Ed.]
Documents of the New Jewel Movement
- “Manifesto of the New Jewel Movement”, (1973), 33 pages. (Copied from the MIA and transformed into a PDF.) Searchable PDF format [427 KB]
Documents of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada (1979-1983)
- [Book:] “To Construct From Morning”: Making the People’s Budget of Grenada, by the People’s Revolutionary Government, 1982, 172 pages. Searchable PDF format [18,275 KB]
Maurice Bishop: Writings
- [Book:] “In Nobody’s Backyard”: Maurice Bishop’s Speeches, 1979-1983, ed. by Chris Searle, (London: Zed, 1984), 304 pages. (Slightly crooked pages and some underlining: our apologies.) PDF format [21,614 KB]
- “Why the U.S. Invaded Grenada: Maurice Bishop Speaks to U.S. Workers”, pamphlet, (NY: Pathfinder, 1983), 48 pages. (Pages a little crooked: our apologies.) Searchable PDF format [1,221 KB]
The Burning Spear (and associated organizations)
- “Workers and Peasants Topple Grenada Regime”, The Burning Spear, Vol. 6, #13, April 1979, 3 pages. (Copied from the MIA and transformed into a PDF.) Searchable PDF format [109 KB]
U.S. Government Documents (Including Grenada documents seized during the U.S. invasion)
- [Book:] Grenada Documents: An Overview and Selection, (Washington, DC: September 1984), released by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S Department of Defense, 813 pages. Searchable PDF format [28,206 KB]
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