Political parties should sanction their governments
Notwithstanding the present stagnation in the area of political reform, I believe that our political parties are on the cusp of major restructuring and that John Maynard Keynes was perhaps correct when he claimed that: “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood”, for even today, notions like “democratic centralism” and “party paramountcy,” rooted as they were in autocratic political cultures that are either dead or in their death throes, are still being used to explain contemporary issues. We therefore need to sensibly situate these ideas lest they reemerge and continue to adversely affect the way forward.
Like most third world leaders of his time, Forbes Burnham was a socialist but, given his geo/political context, in the early days he was much more cautious than some of his contemporaries. In 1970 the PNC designated Guyana a Cooperative Republic and placed its faith in the “cooperative as the instrument for making the little man a real man.” The fact that the PNC kept itself in office by rigging elections had already begun to delegitimize it in the eyes of many, particularly those Indo-Guyanese who were supporters of the PPP. But what about those in the Marxist countries who ran atrocious dictatorial “vanguard” type regimes, and their Leninist aspirants and supporters, of which there were many in the third world? Actually, Burnham became quite popular with them as his cooperative socialism, like Julius Nyerere’s Ujaama socialism, even if thought wrongheaded, appeared quite quaint.