File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 598

Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 15:28:54 -0500
Subject: M-I: Grenada

Radicals should beware of the posting by one "Rich Gibson" concerning
Grenada. The posting (m-i and LL, I believe) purports to be an appeal for
support, including funds, to help in the defense of the 17 political
prisoners in Grenada, imprisoned for actions they are accused of having
taken in 1983, just before the US invasion of Cuba.

But if you look at the fine print, so to speak, you see that this "Rich
Gibson" -- I  put his name in quotes because I have no idea who he is -- is
really appealing for support and funds for himself, supposedly to back his
appeal in a Detroit court for Freedom of Information access to certain U.S.
documents about the invasion. The US Freedom of Information Act, needless
to say, has no standing in Grenada. He claims to have spent the last year
in Grenada; that, in combination with his FoI case, suggests that he may be
writing a book, and needs funds to support the project.   Leftists in
Detroit should check this guy out: is he legitimate?

Gibson totally distorts and  viciously maligns the history of the Grenada
revolution and manages to malign Cuba in the process. From the top of his
posting (highlights only): the Grenada revolution was NOT "the first
[revolution] in an Afro-Caribbean countrty." What about Haiti? Cuba? It was
not "the first in the English-speaking world." To say flatly "the [NJM]
leadership was mostly upper-middle class, educated abroad" is misleading.
The main leader, Bishop, represented the second generaltion of struggle .
The statement about class if false. Essentially all revolutions coopt
educated leaders. "They called themselves the 'New Jewel Movement'." In
fact the NJM was not a new organization and it followed from the old Jewel
Movement, led by Maurice Bishop's father. "The revolution, or coup as some
have called it...waas a move to replace a mad dictator." Who on the left
calls the Grenadian Revolution a "coup?" The revo throughout its history
proclaimed itself,  and tried to be, a socialist movement. "They borrowed
and won investment from any government they could." Nonsense. "To claim
that the NJM rule was a model would be off-point. It wasn't. Democracy and
equality went on the back burner...Th party became privileged...Women 
cadre were often doing the work" All of this is untrue. It goes on and on.
Falsehoods and half-truths.

Next: the role of the US is described in a false and deceptive way. "Rich
Gibson" states that Reagan, as a sort of afterthought in the wake of the
Beirut bombing, decided no invade Greanada. In fact, the invasion was
planned two years before. A navy/marines practice assult on Vieques a year
before the Grenada invasion practiced it, naming the assault beaches with
the namnes of Greadian beaches. The US media gave huge prominence to the
"discovery" of a secret Soviet-Cuban air base under construction -- in fact
a nonsecret 10,000 foot runway designed by US engineers and being built by
Greandians with Cuban construction help -- to accomodate jumbo jets and
thus permit Grenada to have a real tourist industry. The Times and other
papers published an artfully grainy aerial photograph of the "secret base"
and the accompanying stories shouted that US security was being threatened
and implying or shouting that an invasion would have to take place. All of
this long before Beirut. And no "organization of Caribbean nations" 
supported the invasion.

"Rich Gibson" then gives a twisted account of the internal problems which
contributed to the fall of the revo (though, in my opinion, they would have
been overcome had not the US invaded just preciusely at the right moment).

"Gibson," finally, makes it seem as though the whole revo was some kind of
Cuban plot. Thet is exactly what the US said and says.

"Gibson" says he spent 1996 in Grenada. Today in that country, few people
will openly state their opinions about the revo. Moreover this is 14 years
after the overthrow. Those of us who were there during the revo, working
for the revo, and building support for the revo externally, know a lot more
about the facts than this "Rich Gibson," whoever he is.

Jim Blaut

Formerly a consultant to the Ministry of Trade, PRG, Grenada
Formerly a consultant to the Ministry of Education, PRG
Formerly Vice-President, US-Grenada Solidarity Committee    

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