40 Years Later, Why Emulate Grenada?

40 Years Later, Why Emulate Grenada?

As one commentator concluded recently, “While Marxism has failed spectacularly in politics, it has succeeded spectacularly in culture.” The senseless arrogance expressed by Bishop’s regime forty years ago is replicated today by the Pentagon’s CRT-DEI-touting leadership. Apparently, U.S. defense leaders believe no crushing of military members’ civil liberties can be committed in the name of liberating the so-called oppressed. Mandated diversity trainings, preferred pronouns and discouraged terms, and experimental drugs (formerly “vaccines”) are but three examples – lowering morale/cohesion and combat readiness and reducing the ranks in a military assessed by the respected Heritage Foundation as “weak.”

In 1974, the British granted independence within the Commonwealth to the tiny eastern Caribbean Island of Grenada, known as the Isle of Spice (especially for its nutmeg). Under Prime Minister Eric Gairy, an increasingly repressive police force and an extralegal private militia checked Grenadians’ civil unrest in the lush tropical “paradise” that it was for the tourists who provided revenues to Gairy’s coffers. To most islanders, however, Gairy ran “a hateful little dictatorship.”

In 1979, a small group of intellectuals pulled off a nearly bloodless coup, toppling a regime described as “a populist/black power revolutionary movement gone wrong.” Anthony P. Maingot wrote in Caribbean Review that the New Jewel (Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and Liberation) Movement, “schooled in various revolutionary tracts and rhetoric, quickly shed their vague romantic . . . program of a people’s democracy and turned to an attitude of: we love the people and know what is best for them and so must guide their affairs” [emphasis added].

It was precisely the arrogant, self-congratulatory attitude of the “Anointed” described by brilliant and prodigious Professor Thomas Sowell – who once considered himself a Marxist.

Opinions varied on the nature and intentions of the People’s Revolutionary Government, whose leader, Maurice Bishop, became the new prime minister. One writer called Bishop’s brand of socialism, “documentary radicalism.” With good reason, others viewed the movement – self-described as Leninist and using the term “Politburo” – as more than rhetorical in nature. (Maurice named his son Vladimir Lenin Bishop; tragically, he died as a teenager in a Toronto nightclub.) In any case, the Bishop regime caught the attention of both the Carter (1977-1981) and Reagan administrations. The Cold War’s East-West rivalry guaranteed Washington’s concern, especially in view of Fidel Castro’s socialist Cuba and the similar threat to regional stability coming from Nicaragua.

Under Bishop’s regime, British military officer and historian Mark Adkin wrote, “Any sign of ‘imperialist’ characteristics in a person weighed heavily against him.” In some cases, the result was what Grenadians called “heavy manners,” a term that included imprisonment, torture, or even death. While, admittedly, Bishop managed to improve health care, housing, and literacy for many Grenadians, during the doctrinaire regime’s four-and-a-half-year rule roughly 1 percent of the populace was detained for political transgressions.   

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