PPP Congress unanimously removes socialism & Marxism-Leninism from Party’s constitution

…Party not giving up on working-class ideology, but moving closer to reality of today – Jagdeo

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has formally removed Socialism and Marxism-Leninism from its constitution – a move which General Secretary Dr Bharrat Jagdeo says has brought the party closer to the reality of the modern day.
Over the weekend, the ruling PPP held its 32nd Congress – the party’s largest decision-making body – during which a number of Resolutions were adopted. Among the proposals made was the removal the Socialism & Marxism-Leninism ideology from the party’s constitution.

A section of the gathering at the PPP 32nd Congress held from May 3-5 at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre

Marxism-Leninism is a political philosophy founded on ideas of Marxism and Leninism, often used specifically to refer to the state ideologies of communist nations.
At press conference on Sunday to update the media on the outcome of the three-day congress, GS Jagdeo explained that the PPP had long moved away from the “alien concept” of Socialism and Marxism-Leninism and party members have unanimously supported the removal of these concepts from its founding and core principles.
“When the question was put to amend the resolution to remove Marxism-Leninism from our constitution and to remove Socialism from our constitution, that proposal or list of amendments to our constitution got unanimous support… not a single person was opposed to it and we had a full house there. It was a unanimous decision of our Congress,” he noted.
But according to the PPP General Secretary, this does not mean that the party has given up on its history or working-class ideology which is already part of its constitution.
The PPP constitution states: “The Party’s strategic objective is to create a fair and equitable society. This objective will find expression in the establishment of a national democratic state that will embrace political and ideological pluralism, political democracy, cultural diversity, racial equality, and mixed economy. Such a state, with a multi-ethnic and multi-class plural government, will fight to prevent foreign domination of any kind and to preserve the full democratic rights of the people.”
“The People’s Progressive Party is guided by the ideology of the working class. The Party will ensure that the primary objective of its policies and programmes is to improve the lives of working people, the poor, and the dispossessed. This shall be achieved through a pro-poor approach to economic growth and development. Further, the Party will be organized on the basis of Democratic Centralism which is in line with the democratic principle of majority rule.”
Jagdeo pointed out that already the PPP’s track record – both national and within the party – reflects these practices particularly those relating to inclusion and diversity.
“You can be anybody, you can be a person who believes in socialism – a third way, you can believe in capitalism but you have a place in the party. You can be from the business community, you can be a worker, a farmer, a fisherman, a bauxite worker, you can be an intellectual – you will find place and a home in the PPP,” he posited.
Moreover, another aspect of the recommendations made is the removal of teaching the principles of Marxism-Leninism to member and this was replaced with now teaching the party’s founding principles, political philosophies, core values, history, struggles and achievements.
According to the PPP General Secretary, this removal of these ideologies from the constitution has placed the party on par with current day reality not only within Guyana but also global practices.
“If you look at membership of party, the party’s ideology and its belief cannot be divorced from the reality of the country, the reality of the world and the reality of our own membership… The world has moved on from the cold war era and the era of ‘isms’… So, in that sense, we are bringing our constitution more in line with the prevailing ideology in the world, where you do have parties and countries that practice working-class ideologies or philosophies or are guided by those without having to mention an ism behind them. They are characterised by a set of policies that are pro-poor, pro-working class but at the same time don’t contradict the creation of wealth by the private sector. And that is really the reality of Guyana today,” Jagdeo stated.
Other resolutions
Meanwhile, during the two-day session, the PPP Congress also adopted a number of other resolutions including to formally cement the party’s presence in the hinterland regions. Historically, the party did not have a strong presence in areas such as Regions One (Barima-Wini); Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni); Eight (Potaro-Siparuni); Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) hence its constitution did not cater for establishment of party regions there.
However, this no longer the case since out of the 3000 Congress participants, more than 800 were delegates from hinterland regions. Consequently, the PPP updated of constitution to create party organisational structures in these five regions. This will see the establishment of a regional committee that will be comprised of district committees within each region.
Jagdeo said these committees will do party work, be given more tools to carry out their mandates and hold leaders more accountable while also building on local management in these regions rather than having centralised management of their work.
Another major change coming out of last weekend’s Congress is the creation of a group, whose members will be selected by the party’s Central Committee, to review the PPP Constitution, which was adopted in 1979 and amended some 20 years.
The group will examine areas to update and present these at the county conference in a year’s time for adoption. This new party programme would outline a series of tasks for the party to undertake over the next decade.
According to the General Secretary, “That will be a major update of our party’s programme… Now, when you examined the current programme, a lot of the tasks we set ourselves have been completed and overachieved hence the need for a new programme that reflects current-day realities.” (G8)