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The PPP 32nd Congress

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The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) held its 32nd Congress on from May 3 to 5. The great expectations aroused in the citizenry were not disappointed by the time the curtains were dropped. With elections scheduled next year, it was accepted that from an organisational standpoint, the party would be trying to elect its strongest possible Central Committee and Executive Committee to guide it to victory to secure a second term. The 31st Congress was held in 2016 at Cotton Field on the Essequibo Coast after the Party lost office the year before to the APNU/AFC coalition. A concatenation of events that included a successful movement of a vote of no-confidence against the APNU/AFC Government; the COVID pandemic; the attempted rigging of the 2020 elections and a five-month rearguard action by the APNU/AFC coalition to cling on to power, pre-empted the scheduled biennial Congress until now. However, it was clear that the resolution of the 31st Congress to limit the APNU/AFC coalition to one term was taken seriously and they returned to office on August 2, 2020.
At the 31st Congress, the then newly-elected General Secretary Jagdeo had exhorted the delegates: “We need to carry a message across the villages and the wards of the city in our country that we are open to people, even if they did not support us in the past, we have to stop being exclusionary.” That there were three thousand delegates to the 32nd Congress at the ACCC signalled that the Party had heeded the call. Once again, the number of delegates from the hinterland regions and their overall diversity were very striking.
While it is usually the election of office bearers to the CC and Ex-Co that garner the most interest, this time it was the motion brought by the Leonora Group – home of President Ali – for all mention of “socialism” and “Marxism-Leninism” to be expunged from the Party’s constitution that became the cynosure of all eyes. Leonora – also the home of the martyr Kowsilla – has always been a militant and progressive party group and it was clear they had read the mood of the Party correctly when an overwhelming majority carried the motion.
This will make the 32nd PPP Congress historic since those terms had defined the PPP’s ideological worldview and modus operandi since 1969 as described by the 22nd Congress of 1985: “[T]he Party decided in 1969 to commence a process of transformation from a loose, mass party into a disciplined Marxist-Leninist organisation, capable not only of widely disseminating Marxist-Leninist ideology but also of more effectively organising and uniting all working people in the struggle for a socialist Guyana…
“Since 1969 a series of steps have been taken to reorganise the Party’s structure, promulgate a Programme, develop a disciplined core of cadres and membership imbued with the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, undeviatingly apply the principles of Marxism-Leninism to everyday problems, apply the principles of democratic centralism and criticism and self-criticism and such other principles as were necessary to achieve our objective. In this regard since our decision to transform the Party, our work on the ideological front of the class struggle has been strengthened in the fight against right and left deviationism…
“Our international work is based on proletarian internationalism…We are generally recognised as and accorded the status of a communist party by all other fraternal parties…The prestige of our Party both locally and internationally has never been higher. We can say with confidence at this 22nd Congress that our Party has been transformed into a Communist Party.” [“PPP is Marxist-Leninist”, Thunder, Third Quarter, 1985, p. 6]
The changes that have been just adopted at the 32nd Congress had been long in coming – directly after the PPP under Cheddi Jagan acceded to office in 1992 and they embraced a pragmatic approach towards the IMF Structural Adjustment Program that had been accepted by the PNC Government in 1989.
In the dispensation in which Guyana presently finds itself, the dropping of the ideological jargon should assist in the Party continuing its pragmatic course.

The post The PPP 32nd Congress appeared first on Guyana Times.

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