Title: Grenada and the Theory of Peripheral Transformation
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA00400031/00001
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Title: Grenada and the Theory of Peripheral Transformation
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Henry, Paget
Affiliation: State University of New York -- Stony Brook -- Department of Sociology
University of Virginia -- Department of Sociology
Publisher: Caribbean Studies Association
Publication Date: 1984
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Grenada -- Caribbean
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Bibliographic ID: CA00400031
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Caribbean Studies Association
Holding Location: Caribbean Studies Association
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Paget Henry

Department of Sociology
SUNY, Stony Brook
Stony Brook, N.Y.

Department of Sociology(After, Sept.l)
University of Virginia

Prepared for the ninth annual Conference of the Caribbean Studies
Association, St Kitts, Mayj30-June 2, 1984.

In their attempts to overcome the problems of national sub-
jugation and underdevelopment produced by the penetration of the
capitalist world economy, many peripheral countries have resorted
to socialist strategies. These socialist projections have taken a
variety of forms and have produced widely varying outcomes. With re-
gard to this tendency to experiment with socialism, the Caribbean
has certainly not been an exception. Its experiments with socialism
(Cuba, Jamaica, Guyana and Grenada) have also varied widely both in
form and in results. Taken together, these trends point to a sig-
nificant increase in the importance and the maturity of socialist
thought in the regional political culture.
Although Grenada's experiment came to a tragic and premature
end, its achievements will continue to have great importance for
both the practical and theoretical questions surrounding the possi-
bilities for radical change in peripheral societies. From the stand-
point of political theory, Grenada's experiment has demonstrated the
extent to which concrete political practice has moved ahead of re-
gional academic theorizing. In its political form, the latter has
remained largely within the Liberal framework- To the extent that
theorizing has move beyond the rigid boundaries set up by the East-
West conflict, it has occurred primarily in economics with the rise
of dependency theory. As articulated in the works of theorists such
as Beckford(2), Girvan(f@ and Thomas(31), it has provided some care-
fully formulated critiquesdependent capitalist models of development
and a number of alternative proposals.
But, significant as these developments have been, they have in-
cluded only very limited accounts of alternatives to the Liberal state,
and equally limited analyses of the problems that would accompany
their establishment. This restricting of political theorizing to the
Liberal tradition was largely a reflection of the fact that the Guya-
nese and Jamaican experiments with socialism took place in a political
context that left the basic elements of the Liberal state very much
in place. However, this was not the case in Grenada. Here, the ex-
periment brought with it new forms of political organization that
moved beyond the Liberal tradition. Consequently the assimilation of


this experience will require that regional political theory expand
its conceptual infrastructure to include the political aspects of
transition processes, and the analysis of socialist political for-
mations. The same could also be said about existing theories of re-
gional cultural systems and their relations to processes of socialist
transformation. This need for new directions in both cultural and
political theory is necessitated by the degree to which Grenada's
experiment moved beyond the institutional premises of Liberal capi-
This paper represents a step in the larger effort that will be
needed to reformulate regional political theory so that it can in-
clude the Grenadian experience. In particular, I will examine the.
nature of the socialist state as it emerged in Grenada, and the pro-
blems of legitimating such a state in the English speaking Caribbean
;iven existing social conditions and the established political cul-
ture. I will begin with an analysis of the political, economic and
cultural sapects of the transformation actually achieved. From this
analysis, I will attempt a general outline of the of the most mature
socialist state that the regional political culture has so far been
able to support, and then examine some conditions for its legitimation.
However, to put this analysis in its proper perspective, it is neces_-
sary that we first take a brief look at the regional literature on
the state.
Regional Theories of the State
Although the problems of the transition to socialism have been
more explicitly addressed in the economic literature, a quick review
of the political literature indicates that it too has been moving in
this direction. As major developments in the region have been con-
sistently reflected in this literature, it is possible to organize re-
gional political theory around five major issues: the process of poli-
tical decolonization, the process of regional integration, the pro-
blems of race, electoral politics, and the current struggles for eco-
nomic independence. The importance of the theme of decolonization is
clearly reflected in the works of theorists such as Munroe(20), Stone
(Henry&Stone 17, p.37-61), Danns(Henry& Stone 17, p.63-93), and in my

own work(l6). Some of the problems and possibilities of regional
integration have been analyzed in the works of Emmanuel(Lewis 24,
p.1-15), and Lewis and Singham(Monroe & Lewis 26, p. 171-78). The
issuesof race and politics have been central to the writings of
Green(15), Ryan(27), Danns(5) and Edmondson(Ince 19, p.33-55). De-
tailed studies of electoral behaviour in the region have been made
by Stone(29), Green(15) and Emmanuel(7). Finally, the problems of
economic independence are reflected in the works of authors such as
Parris(Ince 19, p.242-59), Stone(30), Danns(5), Ashley(Henry & Stone 16,
p. 159-76) and Maingot(Fagen 9, p.254-301). More than any of the pre-
vinus set of issues, the attempts to deal with this set of problems
led inevitably to the consideration of alternatives to existing de-
pendent arrangements. This movement towards the problems and possi-
bilities of radical transformation are very clear in the works on
Jamaica and Guyana, as both countries had been attempting to intro-
duce some form of socialism. However, our theorists were not very
hopeful about these possibilities. At the end of his analysis of
Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad, Maingot comes to the following con-
Short of full-scale social and political revolution,
which appears nowhere in the offing, these WestIndian
societies will not be able to break out of the present
pattern of structural dependence. The trend that a
wide spectrum of the dominant elites of these nations
prefer is a state directed populism with an assigned
role for the private sector and an active but non-
aligned Third World foreign policy. The evidence seems
to be that this is in fact as much as the existing West
Indian political cultures are willing to bear(9, p.301).
Clearly, the frameworks of such analyses must be modified if we are
to grasp the significance of Grenada's experiment. In particular,
they need to be.expanded so that it is possible to assume the exis-
tence of more radically socialist states, conceptualize their struc-
ture, and analyze the problems that they would face in the region.
A significant step in this direction has.recently been taken
by Emmanuel(8) In this work, we can observe a very clear attempt to
deal with some of the issues raised by Grenada's experiment both for
socialist theory and regional political theory. Emmanuel's focus is

is on the specifics of regional processes of political and class
formation that do not square easily with established socialist
theory. Also, there is a strong emphasis on the contradictions and
difficulties of the non-capitalist theory of the transition period.
Thus the basic thrust of Emmanuel's argument is that the application
ties, if its users have not carefully separated its-uniqqbly zurop ,ri
and Russian aspects from those that are of more general significance.
Thus inspite of its current resurgence in the region, Emmanuel sug-
gest that "there is an indispensable dimension of Marxian political
sociology which urgently needs to be developed if Marxian analysis and
public policy are notoencounter several pitfalls(8, p.9).
However, along with this healthy warning there are a number of
problems that remain unresolved or unaddressed in Emmanuel's analy-
sis. Very briefly, we can divide these into two groups. First, the
dimensions of the obstacles to transition that are derived from the
specifics of Caribbean political and class formation are not clear.
For example, Emmanuel stresses the fact that the Caribbean peasantry
"was born out of proletarian conditions, and not the other way around"
as was the case in the advanced countries(8, p.i.). As a result of
this difference, Emmanuel sees the development of "a peasantist state
of mind" that is unresponsive to socialist strategies of collectivi-
zation. But exactly how major a problem this would be is not indi-
cated. Rather it is simply suggested that it would be quite insur-
For our purposes, the second set of problems with Emmanuel's
analysis is that it does not adequately address the nature of the
socialist state and the problems of its legitimation within the con-
text of Caribbean political culture. Given the widespread agreement
that the region is "acutely poised at a point of transition"(8, p.9,
it seem to me that this issue needs to be reexamined in the light of
Grenada's experience.
To summarize our analysis so far, we have suggested that regional
political theory, although it has tended to reflect the major events
in the area, has currently fallen behind. The socialist alternative

has become more of a teal historical possibility. This is what Gre-
nada's experiment has made clear Yet our political theorizing has
been hesitant in its efforts to embrace and evaluate this possibility.
Consequently, it has not been able to substantially inform or cri-
tically evaluate the political practice associated with the increased
nearness of this possibility. Hence, one of the primary goals of
this paper is to make a contribution to the closing of this gap. As
indicated before, we will begin with some general remarks about
socialist transformation in the periphery and then move to the case
of Grenada in particular.
Socialism and Third World Transformation
In its most general aspects, socialism attempts to do two things.
The first is to mobilize the basic resources of a society.by suspend-
ing their as means of private accumulation. The second is to reallo-
cate these collectively owned resources in such a way that everyone
gets a fair share of the benefits of the reorganized processes of
economic, political and cultural production. Although it has been
easy to generalize these basic goals, the same cannot be done with
the conditions for their achievement as societies differ so widely
in their make up and level of development. Consequently, the more
extensive the experiments with socialism, the more varied will be the
specific set of conditions and strategies that will mediate the trans-
ition. These conditions and strategies will have elements in common,
but there will also be important factors that are regionally specific.
Thus, as originally formulated in the writings of Saint-Simon,
Owen, Proudhon, Marx,etc.,socialism was essentially a response to the
new conditions and consequences of class exploitation that the rise of
capitalism had introduced into European society. For Marx in parti-
cular, it brought not only the intensification of class exploitation
but also the commodification and hence the alienation of labor. Con-
sequently, in this context the attempt to mobilize and collectively
reallocate the resources of European society was linked practically
and theoretically to the ending of class exploitation, the alienation
of labor, and the fettering" of productive potential by existing pro-
duction relations(37, p.81-93). This project presupposed a well de-

veloped productive system, and was to be spearheaded by a self-
organized proletariat.
In Lenin's adaptation of Marx to Russian conditions, he had to
take account of the following facts: 1) the immaturity" of the pro-
letariat and the importance of the peasantry; 2) the lack of a de-
veloped productive system; and 3) the tendency for capitalism to
stabalize itself in the monopoly period. Adapting Marx to these
conditions resulted in the introduction of concepts such as the van-
guard party, the peasantry as an ally of the proletariat, a new model
of rapid accumulation, and solidarity with colonial and semi-colonial
Among the countries of the third world, existing conditions dif-
fer from those in both Europe and Russia. Consequently, further modi-
fications must be made in the articulation of the conditions and stra-
tegies that mediate the transition to socialism. As in the Russian
case, most third world countries are characterized by immature pro-
letariats, large peasantries and poorly developed productive systems.
However, in addition to theseshared factors, most third world coun-
tries are still tightly controlled peripheries of international capi-
talism. As Wallerstein has pointed out, the basic structure of this
global system is not that of an empire but a world economy(3), p.16).
As a result, the political power of the central states of this system
is directed at the securing of rights and access to the resources and
markets of other countries. Within this framework of partial penetra-
tion, a global economy with a division of labor based on a particular
distribution of productive tasks is continually being created and
maintained. This pattern of penetration and incorporation into this
global division of labor, has resulted in the continuing subjugation
of peripheral countries, the compromising of their sovereignties, and
the underdeveloping of their economies. This external subjugation has
left the national question in these countries still unresolved, and
makes the right to experiment with socialism problematic to degree
not experienced by the Russians.
Consequently, an adequate articulation of the link between the
generalizable goals of socialism and the concrete conditions of peri-

pheral countries must include the following: the importance of the
peasantry, the underdeveloped state of the proletariat, the presence
of a foreign capitalist class, the need for a model of rapid accumu-
lation, solutions to the problems of external dependence and pseudo-
sovereignty, and alternatives to the neo-colonial strategies that are
currently being used to stabalize and contain peripheral areas. With
regard to the Caribbean, special attention would have to be given to
the issues of race, size, a model of accumulation that is not exces-
sively authoritarian in its consequences, and the proximity and stra-
tegic importance of the region to the U.S. In other words without the
careful and systematic inclusion of factors such as these, the goals
of mobilizing and rationally reallocating resources will become mere
abstractions. Consequently, both the theory and the practice of
socialism in the periphery will be different from both the Russian and
the European cases. That is, the class alliances upon which such move-
ments will be based, the short and medium term strategies, the struc-
ture of the socialist state, the pace and nature of the process of
transformation all these will be different in the cases of peripheral
countries. In the Caribbean, Grenada's attempt at transformation pro-
vides an excellent opportunity for contributing to this effort to de-
fine more clearly the socio-historical content of the regions connec-
tions with the socialist alternative.

Socialism and Transformation in Grenada
Given the above uniqueness of peripheral conditions, it should
come as no surprise that regional experiments with socialism were not
the result of the fettering of a new but dormant mode of production.
Similarly, it should not surprise us that they did not arise from the
excessive exploitation of the peasantry by an obsolete aristocracy.
On the contrary, these experiments had their roots in the exhaustion
of the neocolonial strategies for encouraging growth within the frame-
work of the center-periphery relationship. When functional, these
strategies encourage the growth of a local political elite, the addi-
tion of new fractions to the foreign capitalist class, a more active
role for the local bourgeoisie, and expansions into new areas of pro-
duction. On the other hand, when they collapse, as they have since
the late sixties, images of future growth and harmony with the center

begin to disappear. With these gone, the center-periphery contra-
diction re-emerges in all its starkness, exposing the order of the
society its patterns of class domination, the modes of surplus ex-
traction, the distribution, etc., and bringing with it new political
struggles with socialist potential. Thus, factors such as class ex-
ploitation that are shard with the European and Russian cases are
here recast within the framework of the center-periphery relation-
ship. As this relationship is currently defined by a set of neo-
colonial arrangements, the latter becomes the broad context for in-
terpreting the poverty, the inequality, and the crises of production
and accumulation that have pushed the region in the direction of
If the above analysis is correct, then an understanding of the
intensity of the socialist thrust in Grenada must be derived from the
responses various elites, classes and groups to the exhaustion of the
growth potential of the neocolonial strategies that linked the country
to the capitalist world economy. In particular, we must pay attention
to the role of the political elites who became a part of the local
power structure in the pre- and post independence periods. As we have
already suggested, these periods were characterized by a number of
contradictory tendencies that defined their neocolonial character. For
example, on the one hand the growth of a local political was encouraged
through the acceptance of their demands for control of state power.
On the other, there has been increased entrepreneurial, financial and
technological dependence. One of the important characteristics of the
political elites that have emerged from these arrangements is a ten-
dency to use their control of state power to build a power base. Once
established, they use this base either to compete or cooperate with
older or new power structures that are rooted in the ownership of pro-
ductive forces by local and foreign capitalists. Also, they use this
base to distribute patronage to mass supporters and to victimize and
repress mass opponents. However, there is wide variation in the re-
gion in terms of this type of political.behavior. Consequently, the
particular brand of neocolonialism that a country is largely determined
by the following conditions: the degree of autonomy of the local poli-
tical elites, how they use their power base, their ideological orien-
tation, and the kinds of class alliances that they are able to forge.

In the case of the Gairy regime that ruled Grenada for most of
the pre- and post-independence periods, a relatively high degree of
autonomy, an extremely conservative ideology, excessive use of its
power base against opponents, and alliances with various class frac-
tions produced a form of necolonialism which made it possible to res-
pond with repression, corruption and cynicism to the exhaustion of
development strategies. This pattern of response polarized the local
political struggles to a degree that was probably only surpassed in
the region by Guyana.
Until the late sixties, Gairy power was based largely upon his
control of state power, his ability to reach compromises with ele-
ments of the planter class, while at the same time maintaining his
image as a champion of the working class and of Grenadian nationalism.
Thus, through his union and its party he was able at times to get
the support of the majority of the agricultural and urban workers,
elements of the middles class, and also sections of the dominant
planter class. This support rested largely upon the initial dynamism
of a neocolonial strategy that combined the mobilization of the people
through a system of parliamentary democracy and union representation,
with the diversification of export agriculture and the expansion of
a largely foreign controlled tourist sector. However, as this stra-
tegy ceased to be dynamic around the mid-sixties, the growth of op-
position, repression and corruption very rapidly weakened the coalition
of groups and class fractions that constituted much of Gairy's power.
Initially, this opposition came from two sources. Elements of the
middle class and the foreign bourgeoisie(Committee of 22), and radical
intellectuals(the groups that later became the New Jewel Movement).
The former were opposed to Gairy's corruption, repression and mis-
management. The latter, in addition to being opposed to Gairy, were
also opposed to neocolonialsim. Hence genuine independence", "self-
reliance" and anti-imperialism" were prominent features of their 1973
manifesto. This manifesto also included a broad program of economic
nationalization and agrarian reform. It was after years of struggle
in conjunction with other groups that the New Jewel Movement(NJM)
decided to singly sieze power on the morning of March 13, 1979.
Although the NJM acted alone in this siezure of power, it was

with the support of their own mass following, and their former
allies that the take over was consolidated. Consequently, it was
a coalition of workers, peasants and elements of the middle and
bourgeois classes that constituted the political base of the attempted
transition to socialism. As in the case of other peripheral coun-
tries such as Cuba, Algeria or Tanzania, this process was not
oriented towards the making of a qualitative of the type that Marx
had described for Europe. Rather its focus was on O increasing
the degree of popular control, genuine independence, and transforming
the process of local accumulation so that basic material needs could
be met. In the words of Maurice Bishop, "our Revolution was for jus-
tice, for food, for health, for housing, for clothing, pipebourne
water, for education, for people's control of our resources, for
peoples participation"(21, p.137). These differences in the goals of
Crenadian socialism suggests that there will also be important dif-
ferences in the actual process of transformation. Our examination
of this attempt at change will focus separately on its political,
economic and cultural aspects.

Political Aspects of the Transformation
Once in power, the NJM very quickly replaced the exhausted de-
velopment strategies of the Gairy regime with one that combined the
mobilization of the people through a system of popular democracy with
plans for building a nationally oriented economy. The political as-
pects of this strategy were of vital importance as they provided the
attempt at transformation with much of the legitimacy and support
that it needed. In particular, it was these political changes that
enable the NJM to make a sharp break with the past, and to make real
the feelings and situations of a new beginning. This sense of a new
beginning was clearly evident in the revitalized national pride, the
enthusiasm, and the opennes to the future that emerged from talking
to Grenadians. Thus, inspite of their incompleteness, these reforms
are crucial for any model of a socialist state in the region.
Very briefly, the major changes in the organization of the state
may be summarized as follows: first, the creation of a People's Re-
volutionary Government(PRG). As a revolutionary government, it claimed
supreme command and therefore proceeded to suspend portions of the

Grenadian constitution to facilitate its revolutionary structure.
The new revolutionary government was representative of the broader
coalition of classes and groups that were a part of the anti-Gairy
struggle. This was reflected in the composition of the cabinet of
ministers which constituted the core of the government. This cabi-
net included members of the business class and members of the opposi-
tion Grenada National Party. However, in this coalition that con-
stituted the PRG, the NJI1 was by far the dominant faction.
The second important set of changes introduced was the creation
of a People's Revelotionary Army. This was a regular army of full
time soldiers, whose primary function was to defend the revolution.
The army was supported in this task by the People's Militia. The
latter was a part-time organization which people joined on a volun-
tary basis. On becoming members they recieved training and could be
called upon in the event of an emergency. The decision to really de-
velop the militia was a response to a number of counter-attacks
such as the Queens Park bombings of 1980.
Finally, there was the introduction of the system of popular de-
mocracy. This was probably the most important set of political
changes that were made. This change represented the first concrete
alternative to the dissatisfactions with bourgeois democracy that
had been increasing in the region since the mid-sixties. Building on
the notions of People's Assemblies and popular participation that
had been gaining currency, the PRG in 1981 undertook the setting up
of a national system of popular democracy. It subdivided the coun-
tries six parishes into a number of zones, and made each zone the
locus of a council. These parish or zonal councils as they were
called, became the basic organs of the new system of popular demo-
cracy. They met once a month and were open to all members of a par-
ticular zone. These councils were the places where the masses met
to discuss issues of public importance, and to make recommendations
which were then passed on to the ministry of national mobilization.
Through the principle of accountability, these councils had the power
to request the presence of public officials responsible for acting
on their recommendations or other zonal projects.
In addition to these zonal councils, the PRG also attempted to

convert other organizations with restricted membership into mass
organizations similar in structure to the councils. Thus it opened
up its National Womens Organization(NWO) and its National Youth Or-
ganization(NYO) to the public, and created special councils for far-
mers. As these organizations were all similar in structure to the
zonal councils they also had institutionalized links with the appro-
priate ministry of government.
Also in this attempt to expand the opportunities for popular
participation, the PRG devoted a lot of effort to the redefining of
the role and structure of trade unions in Grenada. First they re-
pealed repressive pieces of legislation such as the Public Order
Act, and the Essential Services Act, and replaced them by more sup-
portive legislation such as People's Law 29 of 1979. This law made
it compulsory for employers to recognize their worker's trade union
once it had been decided upon by the vote of the majority of the
workers. Second, they encouraged the internal democratization of
unions, and the participation of unions in the larger process of de-
mocratizing the society. Third and finally, the PRG sought the co-
operation of the unions in its attempts to in-crease worker produc-
tivity. These attempts centered around the creation of production,
emulation, disciplinary, and grievance committees at the workplace.
These committees were operative in several state enterprises. The
PRG wanted the unions to create them in the private sector with the
cooperation of management(ll, p.12-13).
It was through this array of new and revamped organizations
that the masses of Grenadians were able to participate more fully in
the day to day affairs of their society. Good examples of how this
greater involvement worked were the steps that preceded a number of
important government decisions. Among others, these included the
decisions to establish a public transportation system, to take over
the Grenada Electric Company, to substantially imp ve the sulyy and
distribution of water, and the passage of the 1982 budget(12).
These in essence were the changes introduced by the PRG. Although
the set was not complete, the reorganization achieved was substantial.
It represented a rather comprehensive mobilizing of the society's
political resources through their withdrawal from the control of the

political elites and their allies in the local power structure,
monopolizing them for a while, and then redistributing a .portion of
them through the system of popular democracy. Ofcourse many problems
were still to be resolved such as the amount of power and resources
that the PRG would continue to monopolize, the process of changing
the leadership, etc., once the revolutionary period had passed. But,
inspite of this incompleteness, these changes represented a mobili-
zing and reallocating of Grenada's political resources that was
vital to the process of socialist transformation. This reallocation
was vital because it moved the political system beyond the framework
of bourgeois democracy and began to make real the concept of pro-
letarian democracy. More than the experiment in Jamaica, it challenged
the universality of the former and brought home the reality of the
latter. Also, by invoking all of the symbolism of a revolutionary
government, the PRG claimed the right to a framework, and created
such a framework, for making changes that moved beyond the neocolonial
interpretation of the center-periphery relationship. In other words
through the creating of this genuine revolutionary situation, the PRG
was able generate the legitimacy required for its monopolization and
subsequent redistribution of power. We will return later to this pro-
blem of the post-revolutionary state. Now, we must examine the
economic aspects of the process of transformation in Grenada.

Economic Aspects of the Transformation
Compared to the political changes described above, the economic
changes introduced by the PRG represented the mobilization of a much
smaller proportion of the economic resources of the society. In other
words, they were based upon a much more limited withdrawal of economic
resources from established power structures, and their reallocation
on a much less comprehensive scale. Thus, in the economic arena, the
regime was less successful both in the amount of resources it was able
to monopolize and in the scope of its attempts at reorganization. As
a result, there were no equally clear outlines of a new economy based
on a socialist mode of production that paralleled the clear outlines
of the revolutionary state that had emerged. These limitations on
the capacity for economic mobilization were no doubt related to the
strength of bourgeois interests, external ownership, and the state's

limited capacity for comprehensive economic planning.
Because the changes in the economy were not of the order of a
comprehensively planned set of alternatives, we should not conclude
that they were not important. To take such a position would be to
sacrifice the specifics of the Grenadian situation to principles
that have been derived from elsewhere. Also, as these limitations
on the capacity for economic mobilization are not peculiar to Gre-
nada but are to be found in most peripheral countries, theories of
socialist transformation in the periphery must conceptualize these
as normal conditions and not as abnormal or exceptional ones. That
is, these theories cannot be constructed on the ideal assumptions
that these mobilizing and planning capabilities will be present.
Rather, they must be constructed to include the less comprehensive
strategies of regimes whose political conditions and planning ca-
pacities make comprehensive reallocation impossible.
In the case of Grenada, we can observe just such a scaling down
of -oLsocialist economic programs to a point that reflected its own
capabilities. Thus, instead of an attempt comprehensive restruc-
turing, the PRG focused on a shifting of the balance of power and
control between the national economy and the sector controlled by
the capitalist world economy. By the national economy, I am referring
to those sectors that are more oriented to local needs and are charac-
terized by greater local ownership. Throughout the colonial period,
this economy was largely a residual one, existing in the shadow of
the externally controlled sector. The real content of the PRG's eco-
nomic program was an attempt to shift the distribution of power and
resources between these two economies so that the national economy
would become the primary source of growth and accumulation. Con-
sequently, it is inthis light that the significance of these changes
must be viewed, and not from the point of view of an attempt at
comprehensive reorganization.
From the available evidence, it is clear that the early impact
of the revolutionary process on the economy was a positive and ex-
pansionary one. In 1979, real growth in the Grenadian economy was 2%.
In 1980 and '81, it was 3.1% and 2% respectively. This expansionary
trend occurred inspite of the recession in the major capitalist coun-
tries, which had produced a steady decline in the number of stopover

tourists. In 1979, this number was 32,300. By 1981, it had fallen
to 25,000. To assess the policies and changes that were responsible
for this growth, we will divide them into two broad categories. In
our first category we will put the changes of a more long term nature,
which were directed at the overall structure of the economy, and the
addition of new units of production. In oursecond, we will put the
more short term reforms which Aif been directed at increasing the
output of existing economic units.
With regard to the first of these, the basic problem was the
changing of the relations between the Grenadian portion of the capi-
talist world economy and the national economy. Towards this end, the
regime had setA itself the goal of creating an economy with three dis-
tinct sectors: private, state and cooperative. It was through the
expansion of the state and cooperative sectors that the PRG had hoped
to change the relations between the national economy and the externally
controlled sector. The regime's investment code indicated some of the
ways in which it intended to change the relations between these three
sectors(13,p.65). Within this organizationally mixed economic frame-
work, a number of enterprises were singled out for special develop-
ment. These were agriculture, agro-industries, fishing, tourism and
forestry. Also, to facilitate production in these areas, the PRG had
estimated and had already begun the expenditure of over EC$600 million
on infrastructural development.
The development of these specific industries was guided by norms
that were consistent with the vision of a national economy that was
more productive and more sensitive to local needs. In the case of
tourism, the regime distinguished between the old and the new tourism.
The latter was now to be an instrument for the better understanding
of different cultures, a source of linkages with Agriculture, agro-
industries, the construction and handicraft sectors, and an area of
regional cooperation(21, p.71). Similarly, the long term plans for
agriculture were to deepen its roots in the local market, and to make
it more responsive to local needs and decision-making. Existing plans
called for expansions in both the areas of food and cash crop produc-
tion, and for the making of agriculture into an engine of accumulation
to help finance industrial projects. In the areas of forestry and

fishing, development was proceeding under the guidance of two na-
tional companies: the Forestry Development Corporation and the Ma-
tional Fisheries Corporation. Both of these however, were off to a
slow start inspite of assistance to the latter by the Cubans.
Together, these constituted the broad framework within which the
PRG had been attempting to transform the Grenadian economy. It was a
framework for making chnages in the relations between the export and
national sectors. As such, it moved beyond existing neocolonial re-
lations, but fell short of both breaking the center-periphery rela-
tionship and of being socialist.
The fact that these long term changes rested upon a number of more
short term initiatives, brings us to our second set of changes. These
were directed more at expanding the output of existing units, than at
structural change. The most important of these measures were the at-
tempts to increase worker productivity in enterprises controlled by
the state, and to bring idle capacityback into production.
With regard to the first of these, the PRG had worked out a very
reasonable plan to deal with the problems of low productivity. We
can divide this plan into two parts. The first was aimed at elimi-
nating the negative effects of mismanagement, and was therefore
directed at the managerial strata. To end chronic patterns of mis-
management, the PRG introduced the separation of the finances of state
owned enterprises from those of the central government. The goal
here was to make these enterprises self-sufficient, eliminate corrup-
tion, and put an end to the civil service mentality that saw govern-
ment largely as a collective father figure. By introducing these
measures along with stricter accounting proceedures,,had hoped to
replace the old attitudes to work with new ones that were more sen-
sitive to the relationship between income and productivity.
The second part of the plan was aimed at increasing productivity
among the workers who were engaged in direct production. Here, the
regime introduced a system of moral and material incentives, which
centered around the greater participation of these workers in the pro-
duction process. Operating on the assumption that workers would be
more motivated to implement decisions that they had helped to make,
the PRG introduced its production, education, disciplinary and emu-
lation committees to facilitate this greater involvement.

With regard to the efforts to bring idle capacity back into pro-
duction, this was largely the responsibility of the National Coopera-
tive Development Agency(NACDA). On lands that the PRG had acquired
under the Land Utilization Law of 1981, NACDA was to encourage the
development of cooperatives in fishing, agriculture and handicrafts.
However, like the initiatives in the areas of fishing and forestry,
these too got off to a rather slow start.
Evaluating the effectiveness of this program of economic re-
form is clearly beyond the scope of this paper. However, given the
goal of expanding the national economy, the continuing importance of
foreign investments and the dependence on tourism does raise a num-
ber of difficult questions. These questions become all the more im-
portant when we examine the impact of the above factors on economies
such as those of Antigua and Barbados. In these countries, the con-
sequences of dependence on tourism and external investments in light
manufacturing have included the decline of the power of the state in
relation of the international bourgeoisie, the erosion of the power
of the working classes, and the bursting of the nationalist frame-
work of economic planning to meet conditions of accumulation in
these areas. That is, they resulted in a worsening of the relations
that the PRG was attempting to improve. Thus it would have been im-
portant to see whether or not this program, backed by a revolutionary
state, would have been able to subject these forces to a logic of
national accumulation and so maintain the fight for the hegemony of
the national economy.

Cultural Aspects of the Transformation
Because meaning cannot be administratively produced, cultural
systems are peculiarly resistant to rational or administrative con-
trol. Cultural traditions remain alive to the extent that they can
emerge in a rather spontaneous and unplanned manner.,3 Because of
this quality, it is impossible to mobilize and reallocate the cul-
tural resources of a society in the way it is possible with i MR
economic and political resources. Thus we should not be surprised
that in Grenada there was no comprehensive restructruing of the cul-
tural system that paralleled the restructuring of the political system.
But, inspite of these peculiarities of cultural systems, there

are aspects and products of these systems that are employed by elites
in a strategic or instrumental manner. Because they are used in this
manner, it is possible for us to refer to them as the cultural re-
sources of a society. From the standpoint of political theory, the
most important of these are the expressive symbols and rational argu-
ments that can be used to legitimate the social order, and to induce
a general readiness to cooperate, or conversely, to do the opposite.
Thus, poems, calypsoes, plays, religious and philosophical beliefs
can be used to legitimate or delegitimate the existing social order.
In particular, the distribution of power and privileges, the division
of labour, and the use of state power are characteristics of an order
that must be justified to its members. This legitimation is usually
derived in part from the adaptation of metaphysical and expressive
creations for political purposes. For example, metaphysical thinking
is important to the production of ideologies as it tends to smooth out
contradictions and eliminate dissonances in its search for the com-
prehensive picture or the ultimate meaning.
Prior to the revolution, the Grenadian cultural system was very
similar in structure and orientation to those of the other Caribbean
territories. In its linguistic sector there were two languages, Gre-
nadian Creole and English. The use of these languages was governed
by a very specific social code which made clear the situations in
which they would be appropriate. In the religious subsector of this
system, the dominant beliefs were Catholicism and other versions of
Christianity. In the ideological subsector, there were ofcourse the
rival ideologies of neocolonialism and anti-imperialism. The educa-
tional subsector was characterized by little or no capacity for the
generation of new technical knowledge; and what it was capable of
storing and transmitting, it made available to only a few and not be-
yond the secondary level. Finally, the arts sector was characterized
by productions in traditional media such as the calypso, the steel
band, the play, the poem, and in a number of mass media particularly
newspapers and radio.
In addition to meeting the needs of Grenadians for meaning and
answers to life's existential questions, the activities and products
of the various subsectors of this system were also being used to le-
gitimate the existing order, In particular, they were linked to the

premature harmonizing of the center-periphery contradiction, the
capital-labor contradiction, and the support of Gairy's particular
version of neocolonialism. Thus, patterns of language use and the
existing school system helped to reinforce the classism of the bour-
geois and middle classes. The secular ideologies of the system jus-
tified and explained away the penetration of the capitalist world
economy, and the compromised nationalism that it necessarily pro-
duces. The justification of the hegemony of these classes was there-
fore an important function of the system. This function in turn in-
volved the cultural system in the contradictions of the neocolonial
order. The internalization of these contradictions manifests itself
in the alienation of the system from its Afro-Caribbean base, and its
strong Western orientation. The structural and identity crises that
have resulted are old problems and are well known. However, this
alienation could not be maintained if the manipulable aspects(the cul-
tural resources) of the system were not monopolized to a high degree
by the elites that were responsible for the management of Grenada's
neocolonial order.
Consistent with its socialist strategy, the PRG made an effort
to withdraw cultural resources from the control of elites in the old
power structure, and to secure them in its own hands. In particular.
it attempted gain firm control of the ideological and educational sub-
sectors, and of the mass media. 'ith these resources under its control,
the important cultural changes introduced by the regime were concen-
trated in theabove two subsectors. Given the goal of changing the
compromise upon which center-periphery and capital-labor relation-
ships rested, the ideological resources clearly had to be withdrawn
from the production of neoclonial arguments. Further production of
such arguments would only have hindered these undertakings, which re-
quired a lessening of the involvement of the cultural system in the
contradictions of the neocolonial order. Consequently, these resources
were redeployed in the production of arguments that justified the
above changes. These arguments were drawn from the history of socialist
thought particularly the theory of non-capitalist development and
from the experiences of the local struggles against Gairy's necoloni-
alism. As these aspects of the regime, and the theory of non-capi-
talist development are well known, I will not go into the details 3)

However, although the above theory was the official ideological
position of the regime, it is important to note atleast two signifi-
cant ways in which it's actual practice differed from this theory.
The first was the hegemonic role of the NJM in the PRG, and the ex-
tent to which the former was able to make the latter into a vanguard
party of the workers. This possibility developed to much greater
degree than the theory suggests, and in turn produced a more radical
degree of political transformation. The second important difference
was the participatory nature of the regime, which revealed the in-
fluences of the Cuban model. As a result, worker participation de-
veloped to a much greater degree than would be expected from non-
capitalist theory. But, inspite of these differences it remained
the official ideology of the regime.
In the area of education, a similar attempt at reorientation
was undertaken. First, the new educational system was aimed at all
of the people and not just a few. Second the content of the educa-
tion was to provide Grenadians with the technical, academic and or-
ganizational skills that were needed to develop the Grenadian economy.
Third and finally, this new education aimed at reorienting the secular
worldviews of the masses, so that they would be more nationally con-
scious, and thus reduce the degree of alienation normally produced
by this subsector and the cultural system as a whole(13, p.51-2).
To concretize some of these educational goals, we can begin with
the PRG's attempts at mass education for allodults. In keeping with
their often repeated maxim, "democracy and illiteracy are irreconcil-
able", the regime undertook a mass literacy campaign which was ad-
ministered by the Center for Popular Education(CPE). This campaign
represented a first step in the implementing of the concept of free-
dom schools" that were outlined in the 1973 manifesto of the NJM. These
schools were to be run by volunteer teachers, and were to provide the
basic skills and information that people needed for their everyday lives.
The literacy campaign used volunteers and was able to reach many that
the previous system had discarded without reading and writing skills.
To extend this program of mass adult education, a system of night
school with 48 centers was set up. On completing this program of night
study, the individual was given a certificate of merit. In short, the
CPE represented a new layer of the Grenadian educational system, that

was designed to catch those that were left behind by the formal sys-
tem. In addition to this program, it is also important to recall
that significant process of political education were also taking place
in the mass organizations such as the NYO and the NWO.
With regard to the existing school system, the PRG sought to im-
prove both its size and its quality. To improve its quality, the re-
gime instituted a mass teacher training program the National In-
Service Teacher Education Program(NISTEP). This program was designed
to deal with the fact that the majority of the 500 primary school
teacher were untrained. The program made it mandatory for primary
teachers to attend training classes one day a week and for several
weeks during vacations for three years.
At the secondary level of the system, three important changes
were made: the elimination of fees, the building of an additional
school, and the adoption of plans for a similar training program for
teachers. For the graduates of these schools, the number of university
scholarships was substantially increased, permitting Grenadians to
study in a much wider variety of countries.
Again, its very difficult to evaluate precisely the impact of
this cultural mobilization on popular identity and outlook, and on
the overall functioning of the cultural system. On the surface, there
can be no doubt about the ideological changes. The prevalence of
socialist ideas, and a much more self-confident nationalism was very
much in evidence. However, the more important question is the depth
of the impact on individual consciousness and identity. Any such
evaluation would have to include the impact of the collapse, and the
continuities with the past that derived from the openess of the sys-
tem and the lack of change in the areas that were beyond the reach
of the PRG's mobilizing capacities.
This completes our analysis of the process of transition in Gre-
nada. From the point of view of classical socialist theory, this pro-
cess should involve the collective mobilizing and reallocating of a
societies resources according to more egalitarian and humanist prin-
ciples. Consequently, our examination focused on the extent to which
the PRG was able to mobilize Grenada's resources, and the manner in
which it was able to reorganize and reallocate them. In the political
arena, we saw that the mobilization was quite far-reaching, and so

also was the reorganization. As a result, the state was detached
from its Liberal foundations and established on revolutionary
socialist principles. In the economic arena, we saw that the above
processes were less far-reaching. Here, there was no parallel at-
tempt at socialist reorganization, but an attempt expand and con-
solidate the national economy at the expense of the sector that was
integrated into the capitalist world economy. Thus socialist re-
organization of the economy was replaced by the accommodation of the
private sector, the expansion of the state sector, and the creation
of a cooperative sector. In the first of these sectors, the rela-
tions of production continued to be capitalist in nature; in the
second, they shifted to a form of state capitalism that included a
degree of worker participation; and in the third, they were coopera-
tive. In the cultural arena, mobilization resulted in the control of
the mass media and the educational and ideological subsectors of the
cultural system. This limited control left the overall structure of
the system intact, but socialized the ideological subsector, and re-
formed the educational system.
Inspite of their incompleteness, these changes amount to a re-
markable record for 4-1 years. They represent the most systematic
attempt at socialist reconstruction in the English speaking Carib-
bean. As such they have taken this process further than the experi-
ments in Jamaica or Guyana. Hence the more pressing need for re-
visions in our theoretical categories.
The Collapse of the Regime
From our account of the attempt at transformation, there is
little to suggest the possibility of a sudden collapse. This was the
way it appeared in the middle of 1983, when th( study was being con-
ducted. The economic contradictions that we identified, while they
may have matured, had certainly not mushroomed into a full-blown
crisis. Yet the sad fact remains that this fascinating experiment
in socialist transformation collapsed rather suddenly, and came to an
abrupt and tragic end. Basically, three explanations have been given
for this collapse. The first is a power struggle between Prime Minister
Maurice Bishop and his Deputy, Bernard Coard. The second is that it
was brought on by a factional fight, the Coard faction being more doc-
trinaire in its Lennism than the Bishop faction, The third is the sug-

gestion that the process of transformation had come to a halt, and
that the differences were over the appropriate course to take. A
fourth position could be a combination of two or all of the above.
Up to this point, the available evidence on the events leading
up to the collapse have come from the minutes of the IJM's Central
Committee, and the statements of various party members to the press.
Although this body of evidence is by no means complete, they do point
rather clearly to a power struggle of some sort. Thus, the issue
ceases to be whether or not there was power struggle, but whether or
not it was simply that. The struggle for power in the region has al-
ways been an intense one. Factional fights have checkered the his-
tory of regional parties, and the electoral contests between these
parties have become escalating battles. The Odlum-Louisy split, the
Bird-Walter split, and the high loss of life in the Jamaican elections
of 1980, are cases in point. In these instances, additional issues
were linked to the struggle for power. So in the case of Grenada,
it is quite possible that additional factors may^"e involved. But
until more evidence becomes available, we will not know for sure.
But, whatever additional evidence may reveal about the conditions
that led to the collapse of this socialist experiment, its achieve-
ments will continue to raise important questions about existing in-
stitutions and possibilities for alternatives. The experiment has
shown that the regions political culture can bear a revolutionary
socialist state. This fact in turn leads to questions such as the
conditions under which such a state will emerge, its structure and
the conditions for its legitimation.

The Socialist State and Caribbean Political Culture
In our analysis of the origins of Grenadian socialism, we con-
nected them to the crisis tendencies of the neocolonial economy, and
the particularly repressive responses of the Gairy regime to the poli-
tical consequences of these tendencies. Thus, the political coulpr
that a regime adds to the neocolonial situation becomes important for
the turn to socialism. As it is reasonable to assume the persistence
of both neocolonialism and the emergence of particularly repressive
regimes in the region, it is rather unlikely that Grenada's will be the
last experiment with socialism.
At the same time, it is important to note that the repressive re-

gime may be strong enough, as in the case of Guyana, to maintain it-
self and contain the push for alternatives. When this occurs the
state develops mature facist features inspite of its liberal or
socialist facades. Thus, the variety of political formations that
have been emerging in response to the crisis tendencies of the re-
gion's neocolonial economies, forces us to move beyond the liberal
interpretation of the Caribbean state. To this interpretation must
be added the systemic possibilities for both the facist and the
socialist alternatives.
Looking at all of the socialist experiments in the region, it is
clear that they have produced political systems that vary widely in
their degree of radicalism. This degree of radicalism, although ex-
tremely important, cannot be determined in advance, as any such de-
termination must include the strength of the vanguard party in the
class coalitions behind the movement. Thus it is quite possible for
a regime more radical than the PRG to emerge in the region. However,
the analyses in the remainder of this paper assume the existence of
socialist states with degrees of radicalism similar to that of the PRG.
These analyses will focus on the structure of these states and the
legitimacy problems that they are likely to experience in the region.
Earlier, we argued that the process of the transition to social-
ism in the periphery must differ in a number of important ways from
the experiences of either Europe or the Soviet Union. Being an in-
tegral part of the process, the socikaist state in the periphery,
while sharing number of basic features, will also be different as it
must reflect and deal with local peripheral conditions. In its ori-
ginal Marxian formulation, the socialist state during the transition
period was described as "the dictatorship of the proletariat". It was
a state controlled by a self organized working class. Its purpose was
to consolidate the proletarian revolution and to guide the construc-
tion of a socialist society in which the state itself would no longer
be necessary. Marx did not go into great detail about the nature of
this state, consequently various additions have been made to account
for the transition experiences of other countries. Thus Lenin's
theory of the socialist state represents a reinterpretation of Marx's
brief statements that reflected many of the exigencies of the Russian

experience. In that context, the socialist state was not a state
based on the self-organization of the workers, but a state organized
by a vanguard party on behalf of the workers(23, P-30)
In the Caribbean context, the specific form that a socialist
state is likely to take, will also be reflective of local conditions.
That is, even if in the most general sense it could be described as
a "dictatorship of the proletariat", the actual shape that this form
of working class rule will take, will be determined largely by local
conditions. Given the political culture and the social conditions of
the English speaking Caribbean, I would argue that viable socialist
states must fall somewhere between these two models. First, the ab-
sence of a well developed productive system and a politically organized
working class necsssitate modifications in Marx's model. Similarly,
the importance of democracy in the regional political culture and the
need to cooperate with the bourgeoisie will require modifications in
Lenin's model. Also the condition of being a periphery introduces
additional factors that were not a part of the experiences Europe or
Fussia. On this point, the experiences of Cuba and China become more
relavant. But if indeed Grenada has provided the English speaking Carib-
bean with its most radically socialist state, then it is from that ex-
perience that we must take our cues.
Given our account of the post-revolutionary state in Grenada, it
should be clear that viable socialist states in the region will have
all of the institutional structures of modern political systems. That
is, they will contain such sub-systems as a judiciary, legislature,
police, military, a vanguard party, and representative institutions.
However, the overall organization and functioning of these subsystems
will be based on socilaist principles. In particular, this change in
the orientation of these subsystems will be related to two important
sets of changes: changes in the balance of power that define the
center-periphery compromise, and changes in the balance of power that
define the capital-labor compromise. It is the attempt to establish
and legitimate this new distribution of power,, functions and privi-
leges, that will set socialist states in the region apart from their
their colonial and neoclonial predecessors. The latter consistently
routinized and legitimate compromises that gave undisputed hegemony

to the center and to capital.
However, its important to note that the dimensions of the changes
S- that a particular state will be able
to make in these compromises, cannot be automatically or mechanically
determined by its ideology. That is, we cannot make the classical
assumption that power will be "shared with none"(23,p.30), and that
there will be a complete doing away reltab0 0 with these compromises.
On the contrary, because power will in all likelihood be shared, we
;,ust assume that the dimensions of the changes in these compromises
will be affected by the conditionsof that sharing. Thus, it is impor-
tant to recognize that the actual degree of change in these crucial
relations upon socialist state are founded will vary with the condi-
tions under which they come to power.
Given this commitment to significant change in center-periphery
and capital-labor relations, there must be a reoragnization of the
ztate by the new regimewhich aims both at the consolidation of power
and at institutionalizing the structural consequences of the changes
in these relations. I will now examine some of the major features of
this process of reorganization.
One of the first steps in this process is the reorganization of
the ideological subsystem. Clearly there must be changes in the out-
put of this subsystem so that the new identity and commitments of
CftN 1
the state, recognized and understood by the public. In addition to de-
claring the state a workers state, the Grenadian experience clearly
demonstrates the advantages of also declaring the state to be a revo-
lutionary one. The invoking of the powers, symbolism and imagery of
a revolutionary state provides a more supportive framework for the
kinds of changes that will take place in the transition period. Thus
the ability of the ideological subsystem to project clear images of
both the revolutionary and socialist nature of the state is impor-
tant in this process of political reorganization.
Given support for a state of this type, its consolidation will
bring about changes in the party system. As the Caribbean working
class is far from being a self-organized group, a working class state
could only be led by a vanguard party acting on behalf of this class.
However, once again we cannot assume that the role of this party will

be the same as it was in Soviet Union or China. Rather, as in the
case of the changes in the crucial compromises, we must assume that
that this role will be modified the conditions of power sharing,
Thus to the extent that it is in control the vanguard party will take
the lead in the process of socialist reconstruction.
The role of vanguard parties in the history of socialism is of
course a controversial one. They have consistently led to the ques-
tion of whether or not the party elite are ruling on behalf of the
workers or on their own behalf. This contradiction is most clearly
developed in the case of the Soviet Union. The Grenadian experience
suggests that this contradiction cannot be allowed to develop in the
region without severe losses of legitimacy. Consequently, socialist
states in the region will have to demonstrate their seriousness about
working class control by beginning very early the process of trans-
fering some of the power of the vanguard party to the workers. Thus,
in my view, it was the introduction of the system of popular demo-
cracy in Grenada, that compensated for the high legitimacy costs of
vanguard parties in the regional political culture.
With the establishment of both a vanguard party and organs of pop-
ular democracy, the distribution of power and the division of labor
between them must be clearly defined and satisfactorily justified to
all concerned. The situation that developed in Grenada, where the
authority derived from the central committee of the NJI clashed with
the authority derived from the popular base must be avoided. Every
effort must be made to define these relations clearly, and to encourage
continuous transfers of power from the former to the latter. This con-
flict between the power of the central committee and that of the or-
gans of popular democracy is an important dimension along which socia-
list states differ. These differences are important indicators of
the extent to which the workers are really in power. The way in which
Cuba has dealt with this problem should be of great significance for
constructing socialist states in the region(',PP-i4- '
Also important to the creation of a revolutionary socialist state
is the reorganization of the military and para-military forces. This
reorganization of the military should make it into the defensive arm
of the party and the revolution. This reorganization is necessary if

the revolutionary government is to have a believable command struc-
ture. Also, the opposition and the attempts at de-stabalization
that this experiment is likely to generate, will require an in-
creased capability for self-defense. Usually, this reorganization
of the military is not an easy task as they were the defenders of the
old order and subscribed to its ideologies. In the Caribbean context,
this task should be some-what easier given the comparatively weak
military traditions. In the smaller islands, these institutions are
virtually non-existent. However, all this may change with the mili-
tarization of U.S. policy in the region following its invasion of
Although this militarization is necessary,the dangers and risks
that accompany it should not be overlooked. The takeover by General
Austin in Grenada, the military regime in Suriname and the militari-
-ation ofiuyanese state all indicate how rapidly regimes can loose
legitimacy and support through the abuse of military power. However,
such takeovers and abuses are not inevitable as the case of Cuba
makes clear(18,p.81-102).
Even though this process of political reorganization would ex-
tend to other subsystems of the state, the last example of such re-
structuring that I will discuss is the reorganization of the regula-
tive subsystem, particularly in relation to the economy. The economic
activities of the peripheral capitalist state have always been at odds
with the liberal elements in its ideology. Given the underdeveloped
state of the local bourgeoisie, the entrepreneurial and other economic
activities that this state has been forced to undertake, have been far
greater than this ideology stipulates. On the other hand, a vastly
expanded role for the state in the economy is one of the major charac-
teristics of socialist states. In the classic Marxist literature, the
transition period is characterized by state ownership of the economy,
which is then collectivized and centrally planned.
From our description of the economic transformation of Grenada,
it should be clear that the increases in state regulation were of a
much smaller order of magnitude. So, like the peripheral capitalist
state, the socialist state in the periphery is also at odds with ele-
ments in its ideology. However, in this case the gap stems from an

inability to meet expected or required levels of economic regulation.
Consequently, although we should expect substantial changes in
overall economic organization and regulation, it is not exactly clear
when or how these will amount to a clear shift to a socialist mode of
production. Thus one of the most ambiguous areas of this process of
political reorganization, is the path by which the peripheral state
acquires the capacities to meet its regulatory expectations.
These in brief are some aspects of the process of political re-
organization that will be necessary for the constructing of socialist
in the region. From the accounts of the various subsystems, we get
a rather static picture of the structural characteristics of this
state. To add some dynamism to this picture, we will briefly con-
sider some of the changes in the relations with both the domsetic
and the international environment thatshoud result from this re-
Political systems are characterized by established conventions
and methods for internalizing groups demands and translating them
into effective actions. These conventions and methods usually re-
flect the power of the various groups that make up the political com-
munity. In the peripheral capitalist state, these procedures ensured
the priority of bourgeois interests. Thus on the domestic front, we
would expect a socialist state to introduce changes in the processes
of ordering and translating demands into actions that were more res-
ponsive to working class interests. A good example of the kinds of
changes that can take place in this area, was the process of approving
the budget in Grenada(12). This however, does not mean that labor gets
everything and capital nothing. Given the continuing importance of
this class to the economy, the state will find it necessary to secure
their cooperation without sacrificing its commitments to labor and
to its socialist program. Thus it must seek to reduce the amount of
state support that it exchanges for commitments on the part of capi-
talists to maintain and expand production. The actual changes in these
rules will ofcourse be determined by the bargaining power and the op-
tions of these two groups. Similar arrangements will also have to be
made with other groups in the society, such as the bureaucracy, and
the petit bourgeoisie. Although this restructuring of the patterns

of interest aggregation should increase the responsiveness of the
state to working class demands, clearly there are limits to this in-
crease and the actual benefits benefits that the state can produce.
Because of the nature and level of development of the economy, work-
ing class demands will be limited by the need for further accumulation
and by the need to keep products competitive as the economy is still
subject to the pressures of the world market.
On the international front, the commitment of our reorganized
state to the changing of existing center-periphery relations, must
produce changes in its foreign policy. This policy will be anti-
imperialist, that is, opposed to the underdevelopment that is pro-
duced by the penetration of the capitalist world economy, and the
political and ideological control that accompanies this penetration.
In more positive terms, this foreign policy will devote its diplomatic
efforts to changing the international order so that there is greater
mutual respect for political sovereignty, and more equitable economic
Given these goals, we can anticipate strong support for policies
of non-alignment, detente between the superpowers, regional cooperation,
friendly relations with the socialist countries, and support for pro-
grams of international economic reform such as the movement for a New
International Economic Order. In short, the foreign policy of our re-
organized state will strive to be genuinely nationalist, socialist,
development oriented, non-aligned and third worldist. Again, it is
important to point out that the extent to which a particular state
can approximate or go beyond this type of change in its international
relations will be affected by a variety of local conditions, inclu-
ding the power and support the regime has been able to generate vis-a-
vis opposing forces both on the local and international fronts.
This completes our model of the type of socialist state that re-
cent experience has shown to be a possible alternative for the region
given certain conditions. These conditions are the excessive use of
repression in responding to the crises of neocolonialism by a regime
that is not too overdeveloped in relation to the forces of opposition.
In contrast to the more liberal alternative, these state will be charac-
terized by vanguard parties, organs of popular democracy, a more ac-
tive state sector, and other subsystems that will attempt to establish

and legitimate a more equitable mediation of center-periphery and
capital-labor relations. To label this state a "dictatorship of
the proletariat" is atleast problematic if not premature. Precisely
because we are dealing with a situation of shared power, such a de-
finition conceals as much as it reveals. Consequently, a definition
that focuses on the consequences of this sharing may be more apt.
If indeed states such as these have become historical possibi-
lities in the region, then our final exercise must be the examination
of some of the problems that regional conditions would create for the
legitimating of these states. Very broadly, these problems would
arise from two basic sources: elements in the regional political
culture and existing capabilities for economic transformation. Let's
begin with the first of these.

Legitimating Socialist States
In the case of pre-revolutionary Grenada, we saw that a substan-
tial portion of the mobilizable cultural resources were allocated to
the legitimating of the neocolonial aspects of the social order. This
pattern of resource use, together with high levels of structural de-
pendence were largely responsible for the major characteristics and
contradictions of this cultural system. Much the same could be said
of the cultural systems of other regional societies. That is, these
cultrual systems are externally dependent, and still have alot of
their resources committed to the reproduction of old justifications
for the division of labor, the distribution of power, privileges,etc.,
that are characteristic of a social order based upon the penetration
of the capitalist world economy
Given these aspects of cultural formation in the region, it
should not be surprising that the political aspects of life have been
and continue to be interpreted through ideas and conventions drawn
largely from the Western Liberal tradition. Thus at the core of the
region's political culture are a series of local adaptations of Eu-
ropean parliamentary democracy that on the one hand define the poli-
tical universe by such features as political parties, voting, regular
elections, etc., and on the other by the use of the state or the party
as an instrument of political accumulation. As we saw in the case of
Gairy, the latter often leads to clientelistic relations with supporters
and repressive relations with opponents. This particular mix of demo-

cracy and authoritarianism has been basic to the political culture of
the region Inspite of the difficulties experienced, movements for
political reform have remained largely within this cultural frame-
work. Primarily, they have been aimed at lessening the clientelistic
and repressive patterns that have accompanied local attempts at poli-
tical accumulation, or at the introduction of greater opportunities
for popular participation. But, in concrete terms, they have not been
C wH H I )*~'
successful in substantially either the clientelistic or the Liberal
routines that constitute the core of this political culture.
Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the current attachment to
this culture will be strong enough to generate substantial resistance
to the type of socialist state outlined earlier. Its national asser-
tiveness, its vanguard party, its command structure, its anti-imperialism,
its proletarian democracy, etc., must appear strange to those who have
been socialized into the above political culture. Consequently, routine
interpretation of this state in terms of the norms of this culture is
sure to lead to its delegitimation. Thus an effort must be made to con-
vert what is likely to be shortage into a surplus of legitimacy.
In dealing with the more resilient aspects of this culture, socia-
lists have two basic options. The first is to challenge the explana-
tions and interpretations offered by this.culture. That is, they can
attempt a careful but appealing, deconstruction of the ideological con-
structions which the culture uses to prematurely harmonize or explain
away the contradictions of regional societies. In making use of this
option, there are of course several aspects of established regional
ideologies that are vulnerable. Their explanations for the existing
international division of labor, for the mode of surplus distribution,
for the condition of the working classes, and for the universalistic
claims of bourgeois democracy are all possible areas of challenge. By
challenging such generally accepted positions and explanations of the
political culture, it is possible to change peoples perception of the
social order and their place in it. Such a change in public perception
is a vital pre-condition for the establishing of the type of socialist
outlined above.
As such changes in the political culture are difficult to make,
the legitimating of this state will require the use of the second

option. This involves the adjusting of aspects of the process of
transformation to resilient cultural traditions without excessively
compromising basic goals. Here again there are several aspects of
the transformation process that are inconsistent with, and could there-
fore be delegitimated by the principles and norms of this culture. For
example, the suspension of traditional democratic practices, the in-
stitutional reorganization, and the attempts to change people's think-
ing that this process involves sure to generate opposition. In the
region this tension would probably be most acute in relation to the
need to dislodge or contain the power of the bourgeoisie.
Any such undertaking, even if it represents only a slight shift
in the distribution of power and privileges, will generate opposition.
How the revolutionary state deals with this type of opposition is
crucial for the maintaining of its legitimacy. In dismantling the
structures of bourgeois rule and containing the opposition that it
.will generate, the revolutionary state must act in accord with basic
humanist principles. These must be recognized as aset of legitimate
limits on its command structure, and on the privileges of its revolu-
tionary situation. Their abandonment in the name of the imperatives
of the transition process will inevitably be costly, as they will be
seen as abuses of revolutionary power. Thus to assume or attempt the
level of class suppression suggested by Lenin would be a mistake. Con-
sequently, this is M one area in which adjustments will have to be.
legitimacy is to be maintained.
Although the actions described above would be crucial for the
type of state outlined, such linkages with the cultural would not
by themselves, be enough. Given the economic responsibilities of
this state, performance in this area will also be crucial. However,
as we have noted before, socialists states in the periphery are charac-
terized by a basic contradiction between their economic claims and
their capacities for planning and managing a socialist economy. Closing
this gap will be crucial for the legitimating-of socialist states in
the region. This gap stems from a number of sources. The one that I
will examine is the lack of adequate theories of economic transforma-
The basic problem with existing theories of socialist transforma-
tion is that they have not been sufficiently reworked so that their
assumptions reflect local conditions. As a result socialist states

in the periphery have had to work with models of change whose economic.
political, cultural and technological assumptions do not reflect
their domestic conditions. This situation has made good performance
on a difficult path even more difficult. For peripheral states em-
barking upon the socialist path, there is very little theoretical
literature to provide clear guidance for the process of economic
transformation. Essentially, there are three sets of works: the
theory of non-capitalist development, the works of Baran, and those
of Thomas.
The central feature of the non-capitalist theory is that it re-
cognizes the need for a distinct preparatory stage for peripheral
countries making the transition to socialism. However, this stage is
very poorly defined. It is characterized in terms of the coalition
of progressive forces that should constitute the government, the need
to prevent the consolidation of local bourgeois power, and the need
for closer cooperation with the socialist countries(33,p.60-3). Be-
cause the theory is framed largely in terms of what is to be avoided,
there is no clear picture of what the economy and relations of pro-
duction should be like during this period, or what particular charac-
teristics should be the major achievements of the period. Thus it is
never really clear why an economy at the end of some period should be
ready for an economic transformation of the Soviet type.
In the theories of Baran and Thomas, there is no corresponding
period of preparation that is unique to peripheral countries. In
both theorists, there is the assumption of an immediate turn to the
comprehensive reorganization and planning of the economy following
the revolution.In Baran's model)the process can be summarized in four
steps: the mobilizing of the potential surplus through expropriation,
nationalization, etc the collectivization of agriculture, the in-
vesting of surplus in both agriculture and industry in a way that
favors not just industry as a whole, but producer goods in particular.
Finally, Baran includes the judicious use of aid from both the capi-
talist and socialist blocks(3, p.249-300).
Thomas' model fills in many of the details left out by Baran.
Like Baran, Thomas assumes the existence of a revolutionary state
which is in complete control of the economy, and is therefore capable

of mobilizing the surplus. With the surplus mobilized and the economy
under the control of the state, Thomas proceeds to outline his stra-
tegy. Conceptualizing the problem of economic underdevelopment as a
dynamic divergence between resource use,domestic demand and local
needs, Thomas' strategy for overcoming this condition must include
strategies for the dynamic converging of these relations. These
attempts at convergence must be achieved in the two key areas of agri-
culture and industry. The first step in the transformation of agri-
culture is the abandonment of overspecialized primary production for
the export market. With the withdrawal of resources from this area,
Thomas suggests their commitment to three other areas. The first of
these is dairy products because of their nutritional value, and also
because among agricultural products they have the highest income elas-
ticities of demand(31, p.146). The second area in which agricultural
resources are to be put is that of mass consumption foods such as
cereals, sugar, cocoa, coffee, etc. These 'are important because they
represent the basic need of the population even is existing patterns of
demand may not indicate it. Finally, resources must be committed to
agricultural commodities that are required as basic inputs for industry-
primarily textiles(31,p.148-9).
Similarly, in the area of industry the achievement of a dynamic
convergence would require an equally comprehensive attempt at reorgani-
2ation. The key element in this reorganization is the creation of
what Thomas calls a basic materials sector, which would include steel
and textiles. In addition to this sector, Thomas also suggests the
putting of resources, machinery and machine tools industries, agricul-
tural industries and infrastructural development(31,p.195-220).
Although this is not a complete summary, it is enough to give a
sense of the comprehensive nature of the planning upon which Thomas'
strategy rests. Such an undertaking would require that the revolu-
tionary state possess atleast the following characteristics and capa-
bilities: support drawn exclusively from an alliance of the working
class and radical intellectuals, extensive or.complete control of the
economy, the ability to establish state or cooperative farming and in-
dustrial units as the basic centers of production, a highly developed
capability in thd area of central planning, and the ability for rapid
and effective technological training

However, when we compare the economic reforms of the PRG with
those suggested by both of these models, the gap between existing
theories and concrete practice becomes clear. How arc we to inter-
pret the gap between the three sector model of the regime with its
mix of capitalist, participatory and cooperative relations of pro-
duction, and the comprehensive models of Baran and Thomas? Should
we simply assume that Grenada had not met the conditions for trans-
formation? Or should we assume that its achievements were those of
a preparatory phase?
If we take Baran and Thomas as formulated, then we would indeed
have to make the first assumption, as it is clear that the PRG did
not have the characteristics and capabilities listed above. It did
not have complete control of the economy, it did not have the re-
quired planning capabilities, nor did it have the ability for rapid
technological training, Consequently, the problems to which the re-
gime was seeking answers were not those of the task of comprehensive
economic reorganization, Rather, they were those of how to proceed
with economic transformation under conditions of partial mobilization
and control of the surplus, a multi-class political base, limited
planning capabilities, etc. Thus we saw that one of the central di-
lemmas facing the PRG was whether or not its reorganized state ap-
paratus would have been able to contain the capitalist forces within
the socialist framework that it was trying to construct, and subject
them to a logic of national accumulation Consequently, for these
models to be useful, they will have to be further adjusted so that
they can include attempts at transition in cases where the assumptions
that they presently make are only partially met.
If on the other hand we assume that it 1 indeed a preparatory
phase, the theory of non-capitalist development does not provide an
adequate interpretation or guide to the achievements of this period.
It does not provide us with criteria for evaluating the readiness of
the PRG4or the shift to comprehensive economic reorganization. Were
the changes achieved by the regime sufficient preparation? As presently
formulated, we really have no way of knowing
Thus my major point is that there is a sizeable gap between the
theoretical guides to economic transformation and the practical situ-
ations faced by socialist regimes in the periphery. This gap derives
from two basic sources: the first is that the initial phase of the pro-

cess has not been clearly articulated in the theoretical literature.
Compared to the later phases of comprehensive planning, this phase
remains shrouded in ambiguity. This ambiguity affects the theoretical
status of this phase, its practical significance and its basic goals.
Tn other words, however explicit or implicit one wants to make this
phase, a clearer set of guidelines are needed for this early phase
of transformation in the periphery The second set of factors con-
tributing to this gap stem from the fact that some of the political
assumptions upon which existing models of transformation have been
formulated, do not reflect peripheral conditions. On the contrary
the tend to reflect or universalize the conditions of non-peripheral
countries that have attempted or have made the transition to socia-
lism. Thus the conditions that these theories are supposed to re-
flect and explain often become anomalies or exceptions. As a re-
sult, there tends to be an inadequate thematizing of conditions
that are unicue to peripheral countries.
The significance of this gap for the larger discussion is of
course its implications for the economic performance of socialist
state that mi.ht appear in the region, and hence on the levels of
legitimacy that these states will be able to maintain. Our analysis
of this gap suggests that these state are likely to be without theories
of economic transformation that have been adequately adjusted to their
political dimensions and capabilities. Until this problem is addressed,
these states will have a difficult time delivering their economic
promises, and maintaining high levels of legitimacy.
To summarize, we have in this section attempted to indicate some
of the areas in which socialist states in the region are likely to ex-
legitimacy problems. We divided these rm into two broad categories.
The first were those problems that were likely to arise as a result
of tensions between socialist ideas and programs, and entrenched cul-
tural traditions These tensions are likely to arise both in relation
to the more restricted culture of political life, as well as outside
of it. In the second category, we considered some of the theoretical
problems that currently retard economic performance, and therefore
cost these states in terms of legitimacy.

In this paper, I have attempted to show that the assimilation
of Grenada's experiment with socialism will necessitate some changes
in regional political theory. The need for this change stems from
the fact that region-al political theory has remained largely within
a Liberal framework, inspite of the Caribbean's experiments with
socialism. This situation has been possible largely because the ex-
rperiments in Jamaica and Guyana left old political structures in
place. However, this was not the case in Grenada. In this case, the
experiment with socialism brought with it new forms of political or-
-anization that move beyond the Liberal framework. It demonstrated
that under certain conditions the political culture is capable of
supporting radical changes in the mode of political organization.
ience, regional political theory must expand and transform its con-
ceptual base so that it can include this experience, and inform this
type of political practice.
With regard to socialist writing in the region on the state,
these have largely been implicit in works that are more directly
focused on processes of economic transformation. Here, I have tried
to show that there is still too wide a gap between the political
assumptions upon which these models rest, and the characteristics
and capabilities of socialist states that are likely to emerge in
the region.

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