Category Archives: 2020-11

Islamophobia in France

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in France French newspaper Le Monde published a manifesto on November 2 2020 signed by over 100 French academics which denounced decolonial thought in the French academia. They rally behind Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French Minister of National Education, and calls upon him to create a body responsible for directly reporting cases of violations of republican principles and academic freedom, and developing a guide to appropriate responses. This is direct call for censorship in the French universities.

Decolonial and Islamic scholars and activists wrote a letter to the French nation analyzing the latest Islamophobic policy of the French government and calling for exchanges of views to prevent the interreligious, ethnic and racial confrontations.

Click here for the text of the letter.

Alana Lentin and Gavan Titley took the initiative to write an open letter signed by major international scholars. Click here for the text of that letter.

Decolonial Dialogues by Ramon Grosfoguel and Sandew Hira

Ramon Grosfoguel and Sandew Hira, two theoreticians and board members of the Decolonial International Network Foundation engage in weekly decolonial dialogues to develop a coherent decolonial theoretical framework. The dialogues are recorded and placed on the YouTube Channel of DIN.

The first episode deals with the factor behind the rise of the decolonial movement:

The second episode deals with knowledge production. What is knowledge and how is it produced from a decolonial view:

The third episode deals with political theory and practice in Latin America:

How to kill a revolution from within: lessons from the Grenadian Revolution


On March 13th, 1979, an event of historical proportions took place in the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada with a population of 80.000 people. Dictator Eric Gairy was overthrown in a revolution led by the New Jewel Movement. A radio address to the population announced a new era in the history of the spice island: “Brothers and Sisters, This is Maurice Bishop speaking. At 4.15 am this morning, the People’s Revolutionary Army seized control of the army barracks at True Blue. Every single soldier surrendered, and not a single member of the revolutionary forces was injured… Let me assure the people of Grenada that all democratic freedoms, including freedom of elections, religious and political opinion, will be fully restored to the people…People of Grenada, this revolution is for work, for food, for decent housing and health services, and for a bright future for our children and great grand-children… LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE OF GRENADA! LONG LIVE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY! LET US TOGETHER BUILD A JUST GRENADA!'”

Revolutions are often bloody, but this one was not. Yet, it was a profound anti-imperialist revolution for national liberation, that lasted for four year and collapsed after a faction in the New Jewel Movement led by Bernard Coard staged a coup d’état, arrested Maurice Bishop and part of the leadership of NJM and executed them on October 19th, 1983. A week later the US invaded Grenada and arrested Coard and his gang. The revolution finally succumbed.

The Grenada Revolution had a great impact on anti-imperialist social movements across the world. It especially resounded in the communities of color in the Caribbean, North America and Europe. It inspired many activists to get involved in the anti-imperialist struggle.

At the time of the revolution I was a student in the Netherlands. My family migrated from the former Dutch colony of Suriname in South America to the Netherlands in 1970. During the Vietnam war I became an activist. After the revolution in Grenada I founded the Grenada Committee with other activists. We were a few of the tens of thousands of working bees across the world who were involved in spreading the story of the anti-imperialist struggle, collecting funds to support the national liberation movements, organizing picket lines and demonstrations in support of these movements. We were inspired by the struggle of the people of South Africa, Palestine, Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Grenada. In July 1983 the Grenada Committee in Holland organized a solidarity trip to Grenada with a group of twenty people, among them journalists, to get acquainted first hand with the revolution. Little did we know that already at that time forces were in play that would lead to the downfall of the revolution within three months after our visit. We were shocked to hear about the execution of Maurice Bishop and watch in horror the unfolding scenario of the US invasion. It was a big political and psychological blow to the anti-imperialist movement. But life goes on. We licked our wounds, recovered and moved forward in our life and activism.

Forty years later new social movements bring new generations of activists into the struggle, especially in the communities of color. Many of them might not have heard of Maurice Bishop and the Grenadian Revolution. Here is a 17 minute video that explains what had happened during the Revolution. Here is a recording of a speech by Maurice Bishop at Medgar Evers college in Brooklyn New York on March 7, 2017 in which he explains the aims and the process of revolution in Grenada. Hearing Maurice speak, still moves me with emotions, especially when he welcomes the UN representatives of the African National Congress and the Palestinian Liberation Organization at the meeting.

Recently Bernard Coard who led the coup against Bishop published a three volumes analysis to explain and defend his actions. He was arrested after the US invasion and tried for the murder of Bishop and his comrades to life imprisonment. In 2009 he was released from prison.

Volume 1 (The Grenada Revolution. What really happened) is the most interesting one. It details the collapse of the NJM from his perspective. Volume 2 (Forward ever. Journey to a new Grenada) and volume 3 (Skyred. A tale of two revolutions) has less information about the inner party struggle.

In this article I make an analysis of the arguments of Coard and draw some lessons of the failure of the Grenadian Revolution for social movements.

I will not give an overview of the revolution, but focus on the arguments that Coard has brought forward. It has everything to do with the question of leadership of a revolution. According to Coard the main and biggest problem that led to the collapse of the revolution was the question of collective leadership. Coard: “The attempts to reason with Maurice over the issue of reaffirming and re-establishing in practice collective leadership, had failed. I believe, in retrospect, that he genuinely did not see the damage he was doing to the Party’s work. While still paying lip service to the principle, he had become convinced that collective leadership was not the norm anywhere and was not necessary for the Revolution to succeed.”[1]

Two models of leadership

If the issue of collective leadership is so crucial for the survival of the revolution, you would expect Coard to dwell on this issue and explain the different forms of leadership and what the arguments pro and contra are for the different positions. At least you would expect a theoretical underpinning of the concept of collective leadership. That is not the way Coard argues. He just assumes that collective leadership should be the norm and puts it against what he calls the Maximum Leader Model of Cuba. Coard: ” It is clear to me now that the Cubans, at all levels, thought that the way we made decisions, was crazy. ‘You don’t rule by Committee; this is a highly inefficient way to do things,’ is what some of their utterances amounted to… Their model of leadership, their culture and experience told them that the Maximum Leader Model was the one that worked. It had been tested over several years, and it had successfully stood up to the mighty Americans. They had therefore set about persuading Maurice that not just his interest but that of the Revolution itself demanded that he assert himself and start taking decisions on his own. ‘There can be several people on a bus heading for some prearranged destination, but there can only be one in the drivers seat!’ was the essence of the Cubans repeated message to Maurice.”[2]

In the narrative of Coard the issue of collective leadership soon narrowed down to the issue of joint leadership, more in particular the joint leadership of Coard and Bishop. Once it became clear that this was the issue, then the discussion did not go into general items like how to build the institution of the party, the role of the party vis-a-vis the masses or the role of the individual leaders towards the revolution. It came down to the question: who is the real leader of the revolution? Bishop or Coard?

Parties and revolutions: the model of Leninism

The role of theory in political struggle is very important. A theory let us understand the character of political struggle and can provide ideas of how to move forward. In the anti-imperialist struggle of the 20th century Marxist-Leninist theory was the dominant framework for many liberation movements. Grenada was no exception. Now there are other theories of liberation in the anti-imperialist struggle.

Coard was a member of the Communist Party of the US when he resided there and later of the Communist Party of Great Britain when he lived in England. In no way did Coard try to provide a theoretical basis for his concept of joint leadership. It is a strange concept: two individuals have joint leadership in a revolution. In all revolutions a single individual was the embodiment of the aspiration of the revolutionary masses: Lenin in Russia, Mao Ze Dong in China, Ho Chi Min in Vietnam, Fidel Castro in Cuba, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Maurice Bishop in Grenada. The concept of a joint president of a country, a joint prime minister, a joint leader of a party was never conceptualized in Marxism-Leninism, or any other theory of liberation.

In classical Marxism-Leninism the whole concept of leadership of a revolution was based on the party, an organization of full time revolutionaries who dedicate their lives to organize the working classes (proletariat, peasantry). Through the process of cadre formation they were preparing for the historical moment known as “a revolutionary situation”. Lenin explains the concept of a revolutionary situation and the role of the party: “To the Marxist it is indisputable that a revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, it is not every revolutionary situation that leads to revolution. What, generally speaking, are the symptoms of a revolutionary situation? We shall certainly not be mistaken if we indicate the following three major symptoms: (1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action.

Without these objective changes, which are independent of the will, not only of individual groups and parties but even of individual classes, a revolution, as a general rule, is impossible. The totality of all these objective changes is called a revolutionary situation. Such a situation existed in 1905 in Russia, and in all revolutionary periods in the West; it also existed in Germany in the sixties of the last century, and in Russia in 1859-61 and 1879-80, although no revolution occurred in these instances. Why was that? It was because it is not every revolutionary situation that gives rise to a revolution; revolution arises only out of a situation in which the above-mentioned objective changes are accompanied by a subjective change, namely, the ability of the revolutionary class to take revolutionary mass action strong enough to break (or dislocate) the old government, which never, not even in a period of crisis, “falls”, if it is not toppled over.

Such are the Marxist views on revolution, views that have been developed many, many times, have been accepted as indisputable by all Marxists, and for us, Russians, were corroborated in a particularly striking fashion by the experience of 1905.”[3]

The subjective factor that Lenin refers to is the role of the party of the proletariat that can take decisive actions in a revolutionary situation. Russia at the beginning of the 20 century had a population of 160 million and a proletariat of around 10%. The majority of the population consisted of peasants. In 1917 the European War of 1914-1918 had created a revolutionary situation in Russia. Twenty years earlier the first Marxist party was founded in Russia. In 1903 a split occurred at second party congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party with Lenin’s faction later forming the Communist party that eventually organized the taking over of power in the October revolution of 1917 and established the first workers state in the world. Lenin’s party and strategy would become the model for many socialist parties in the world, especially after the formation of the Communist International (the Third International). The model was simple: a communist party trains its cadres to anticipate a revolutionary situation in which they take power through an insurrection.

Other paths

Although the Russian Revolution is regarded as a classical model of how to make a revolution in reality many social revolutions that came after 1917 did not follow this model. In China the communist party led a peasant population in a long guerrilla war to victory. In Vietnam the communist party led a war of national liberation against a colonial power. In Cuba the revolution was not led by the communist party.

Reflecting on the experience of the Cuban revolution Che Guevara argued: “We consider that the Cuban Revolution contributed three fundamental lessons to the conduct of revolutionary movements in America. They are:

– Popular forces can win a war against the army.

– It is not necessary to wait until all conditions for making revolution exist; the insurrection can create them.

– In underdeveloped America the countryside is the basic area for armed fighting.

Of these three propositions the first two contradict the defeatist attitude of revolutionaries or pseudo-revolutionaries who remain inactive and take refuge in the pretext that against a professional army nothing can be done, who sit down to wait until in some mechanical way all necessary objective and subjective conditions are given without working to accelerate them.”[4]

Che argued against the Leninist view that a revolution is only possible when a revolutionary situation arises. The guerrilla peasant war in China and the wars of national liberation in countries like Vietnam showed other paths of making revolutions. Cuba made a socialist revolution by cadres who were not part of the communist party. In 1979 the revolution in Iran showed that it is possible to have a fiercely anti-imperialist revolution that was rooted in a totally different ideology: Islam instead of Marxism. And in 1999 Hugo Chavez showed that a revolutionary process is possible in which revolutionaries take state power not via an insurrection of war, but through parliamentary elections.

A revolution is a complex process of fundamental transformation of the economic, social, political and cultural institutions of a society. Getting state power is obviously the most important step. But the revolutionary transformation of society is much more than that. Getting state power is a fundamental prerequisite. But getting the masses of people involved in the transformation of their lives is a major and daunting task. In Marxist theory this task was in the hand of the party. The Cuban revolution showed another model: leading a revolution is much more than leading a party. The leader plays a specific role that is not acknowledge in Marxist theory.

On the role of the individual in history

In Marxist theory Russian Marxist Georgi Plekhanov (1856-1918) laid down the Marxist view on the role of individuals in history: “Individuals can influence the fate of society by virtue of definite traits of their nature. Their influence is sometimes very considerable but the possibility of its being exercised and its extent are determined by society’s organization and the alignment of its forces. An individual’s character is a ‘factor’ in social development only where, when, and to the extent that social relations permit it to be.[5]

The role of the individual in revolutionary transformation is very limited, according to Marxist theory. Che Guevara, an Argentinean by birth and an internationalist by conviction, played a leading role in the Cuban revolution. In his farewell letter to Fidel Castro of April 1, 1965, he pointed out to the specific role of the leader of a revolution: “Reviewing my past life, I believe I have worked with sufficient integrity and dedication to consolidate the revolutionary triumph. My only serious failing was not having had more confidence in you from the first moments in the Sierra Maestra, and not having understood quickly enough your qualities as a leader and a revolutionary.”[6]

Based on their experience and common sense the Cuban revolutionaries draw another conclusion, which Bernard Coard dwelt on in his book: the leader as the embodiment of the revolutionary aspiration of the masses. When the crisis developed in the NJM the Cubans sent general Ochoa and ambassador Rizo to Grenada to explain their views on how to lead a revolution. Coard describes part of the conversation: “It concerned Maurice’s decision making powers in certain statements that I had not taken seriously before, namely what Maurice had been told both by General Ochoa and also ambassador Rizo: ‘The leader is the embodiment of the Revolution’ and ‘In a sense, the leader is the Revolution: the two are inseparable’ and finally ‘The leader therefore has certain decision-making prerogatives’. That was, of course, the Maximum Leader Model, the leadership style which had worked effectively for Cuba.”[7]

Coard is not a man of theory, but a bureaucrat of procedures. So he does not develop a theoretical argument about joint leadership in a revolution, but just assumes he is right in the procedures of a bureaucratic organization and thus there is no need for any justification of his position.

As Marxism did not develop a theory on the role of the individual in a revolution, decolonial theory can step in. My theoretical argument follows the experience of the revolutions across the world and common sense. Common sense tells us that when there are two captains on a ship a disaster is bound to happen during the journey. Analyzing the experiences of the different revolutions in the world I draw the following conclusions:

  1. A revolution is process of fundamental transformation of society in which the masses of people play a pivotal role.
  2. Acquiring state power is a absolutely necessary but totally insufficient. The process of acquiring state power is determined by historical circumstances in a country and need not to follow one particular model.
  3. A revolution does not take place in a vacuum. A revolution in a country is not only a struggle against social, economic, political and cultural forces in that country. It needs to take into account that imperialist forces are always at work internationally and nationally.
  4. A revolution needs to develop mechanisms and institutions to get the masses involved in the process of transformation. A party is one institution, but not the only one. Party leadership is one mechanism, but not the only one.
  5. In the initial phase of the revolution some leaders because of their historical role in the struggle of their people, can become the embodiment of the aspirations of the revolutionary masses. (S)he articulates their feelings, expectations and determination for fundamental changes. In this phase and under these circumstances a leader of a revolution has a special role and responsibility in a revolutionary process.
  6. In order for a revolution to succeed there must be a unity of how the institutions and mechanisms of a revolution operate.
  7. Disunity in the leadership of a party can have two sources: political differences on strategy and tactics or personal ambitions. I case there are no political differences on strategy and tactics, political ambitions can destroy a revolution. And this has been the case in the Grenadian revolution.

How personal ambitions destroyed a revolution

At no point in his account of the Grenada Revolution Bernard Coard talks about the differences in strategy and tactics of the revolutionary process. The only problem he discusses is the problem of military strategy, where he tries to argue a case of important differences in military doctrines between the Cubans and hid faction. The Cubans did not foresee a full scale military invasion if the revolution would be strong and vital, but an invasion by mercenaries. Coards faction would prepare for a full scale American military intervention. Beyond these differences he did not elaborate on theoretical, strategical or tactical differences with Maurice Bishop. It was all about bureaucratic procedures and personalities.

Bernard Coard controlled the Organizing Committee of the party and effectively a large part of the organization of the party. Bishop was the embodiment of the revolutionary aspiration of the masses. Coard’s control of the party enabled him to get the Central Committe to accept his proposals.

Coard recounts how one of his followers, Owusu Liam James, puts the proposition of joint leadership to the Central Committee of the party: “Owusu’s fifth and final proposal was effectively for a return to the Joint Leadership model of NJM’s founding Congress ten and a half years earlier, at which Maurice Bishop and Unison Whiteman were elected ‘Joint Coordinating Secretaries’. That join leadership of the NJM had continued for a few years, then gradually it became quietly accepted within our Party that a de facto joint leadership between Maurice and me had replaced it.”[8]

So the question of joint leadership was not a new question. It had always been there. There was a formal decision more than ten years ago that Bishop and his long time ally Unison Whiteman, who was murdered with him in 1983 by Coard’s gang, would be joint leaders. But as things developed Coard regarded himself as the de facto joint leadership, because of his organizational role in the party. And already in the early years there was criticism of Coards aspirations as he himself records: “Maurice had recalled an incident in 1977. ‘When comrade Coard was accused [of] aggressiveness and wanting to grab power I [Maurice], had defended Bernard. He was referring to an attack on me launched by George Louison and Kenrick Radix at an April 1977 [Political] Bureau meeting.”[9]

What Louison and Radix saw was an ambitious man who through bureaucratic control of the party wanted to get recognition as the de facto leader, but lacked the qualities to be a peoples leader. And Coard admits that when he talks about the differences between him and Bishop: “On three separate occasions prior to that 1977 Bureau meeting Maurice had raised with me his stepping down and my taking over the leadership. Each of those occasions came at a moment of extreme stress and political crisis in the struggle against Gairy. One occasion followed the killing of his father by Gairy’s police in 1974. he had temporarily lost confidence and felt that I could handle the political situation better. On each occasion I had pointed out that I was not ‘a peoples person’. I hated speaking on public platforms and used every opportunity to evade that aspect of political work; I was really a behind-the-scenes ‘organization man’ and ‘economic planner and implementer’, not ‘a man for the people’.  Maurice, on the other hand, I had pointed out, was not just a brilliant orator who loved the platform and was unquestionably charismatic; he fed off the energy of the crowd, and the people in turn, off his energy. He was, in my view, born to lead and I told him so frankly on each of these occasions.”[10]

Here Coard says that Bishop was born to lead, but in the rest of his book he argues that Bishop was not fit to lead. That is why joint leadership was necessary. Coard: “In light of all of this pressure, the attempts to reason with Maurice over the issue of reaffirming and re-establishing in practive collective leadership, had failed. I believe, in retrospect. That he genuinely did not see the damage he was doing to the Party’s work. While still paying lip service to the principle, he had become convinced that collective leadership was not the norm anywhere and was not necessary for the Revolution to succeed. He had now largely bought into The Maximum Leader Model. Where he Fidel organizationally, this would have worked. Given, however, Maurice’s organizational weaknesses, this new leadership model was only leading to increasing chaos.”[11]

To be clear, behind the personal ambition of Coard there was an ideological difference with Bishop on the question of the role of the leader in a revolution. In the Marxist-Leninist vision of Coard the party is more important than the leader. The party leads the revolution. But the experience of the Cuban revolution shows that a leader can be the embodiment of the aspirations of the revolutionary masses beyond the role of a party. If the party supports the leader then there is no problem. But if differences arise between the leader and the party, then the revolution is in danger.

What is the logic in a situation like this? If Coard thinks that Bishop is not fit to lead, then the only way to curb his leadership is through bureaucratic control. Coard had officially resigned from the Central Committee so the confrontation between him and Bishop did not take place in the institutions of the party. Coard instructed Owusu to put forward the proposal for joint leadership to the Central Committee: “His joint leadership proposal, Owusu stressed, was strictly for the Party’s internal functioning. Maurice would remain as Prime Minister and Leader of the Revolution. Moreover, all CC documents would be signed solely by Maurice. And “The CC must discuss and ratify all proposals and decisions sought by the [two] comrades,” Owusu proposed firmly.”[12]

Despite his resignation from the Central Committee, Coard was the man Bishop had to deal with knowing that his people in the Central Committee acted on his instruction. And Coard openly acknowledges this: “Having resigned from the CC a year previously, I only attended a CC meeting if my presence was requested for some particular reason. At Maurice’s suggestion, however, the CC met with me the day after its three-day session had ended, to brief me fully on its deliberations and to elicit my feedback. I was also able to carefully study the minutes of the meeting just a few days after it had concluded.”[13]

As Coard puts it, he was really “a behind-the-scenes organization man”, a conspirator who wanted to grab political power by bureaucratic means and control a leader of a revolution that was the embodiment of that revolution. The logic of this process ultimately would lead to a split between the party and the masses. You don’t have to be a skilled theoretician to see this coming. Common sense will tell you this.

The Central Committee had accepted the proposal of the Coard faction for joint leadership. Now the ball was in the corner of Bishop. But Bishop did not go along with this move. Words of the disagreements in the central committee were already circulated among the masses. Given the control of the army by the Coard faction these words draw the logical conclusion: this conflict will sooner or later end in bloodshed. According to Coard Bishop had spread rumors that Coard wanted to assassinate him, so it was necessary to put Bishop under house arrest in order to stop the spread of this rumor. But it was not a matter of rumors, it was a matter of common sense: a political confrontation of this magnitude will sooner or later end in bloodshed.

The logical outcome of the house arrest was the rise of a movement from the people to free their leader from his imprisonment. Coard recalls how easy it was for the supporters of Bishop in the party, George Louison and Unison Whiteman, to mobilize the masses: “For George and Uni, the immense popularity of Maurice, combined with the virulence of the rumor and the inflammatory effect of placing him under house arrest, made the task of mobilizing  people to demonstrate an easy one. Their main task really boiled down to transportation and other logistics.”[14]

The masses were with Bishop. In demonstrations they chanted “We want we leader!” and “No Bishop. No Revolution!” Coard recalls how difficult it was for the party he controlled to convince the masses: “Party members reporting daily on their discussions with workers, had said that ‘the ground’ was ‘hard’. Only a minority, they said, understood the issues. The majority was angry. Some would not listen. Most did, out of respect for many of the Party members and their contribution to workers’ struggle over the years. They, however, expressed their vehement disagreement with the Party’s position.”[15]

The confrontation between the Coard faction and the party they controlled and the masses of supporters of Bishop would end in blood. Leaders from both sides tried to avoid this and so negotiations started. Coard report on a meeting between Louison and Whiteman on the one hand an him and Sello, a supporter of him: “‘But George’, I said, “neither Maurice nor Uni and yourself have held meetings around the country telling people about the Party’s decision on Joint Leadership and why you reject it. Instead, people were whipped up by being told that Phyl [SH: Coard’s wife] and I are planning to kill Maurice Bishop!”

‘The reality is,’ Uni intervened, ‘that people will not accept Joint Leadership. The CC must reverse this decision. There can be no return to Party unity nor peace in the country, without this being done.’

Sello then spoke again. ‘Party comrades up and down the country are asking how it will be possible in the future for anyone in the Party to held accountable for refusing to accept democratically arrived at decisions if Comrade Maurice gets away with doing this. If the Party backs down, they are saying, it means that one man is above the Party. How could a party founded on inner-party democracy survive this, they ask. For Party members, this is a matter of principle. They are asking ‘what would be the future of the Party and the Revolution in such a context?’

‘There will be future for the Party or the Revolution of that decision is not reversed. It has divided the Party and the country, and is endangering the Revolution!’ Uni replied, his voice cracking with passion.

‘Look,’ George responded. ‘You all just have to change the decision! The matter is now in the hands of the masses. They are speaking with their feet and with their chants!’[16]

The Coard faction would not give in, so the logic of confrontation played out and when the masses went to free Bishop, it ended in the execution of Bishop and his supporters, thus opening the door for the American invasion a week later.

Personal ambitions and a bureaucratic approach to questions of revolutionary strategy and tactics had killed a revolution. The American military invasion did not kill the revolution. It killed a corpse.

The strength of a people

The collapse of the Grenadian Revolution led to the death of 20 Cubans, 45 Grenadians and 18 US soldiers in the invasion that followed the execution. It was a traumatic experience for a small population.

The people of Grenada had to cope with their loss. In 1986 US president Reagan visited Grenada and inaugurated a monument in memory of American soldiers who died in combat. In 1989 Fidel Castro visited Grenada and unveiled a monument in memory of the Cuban workers who were killed during the invasion.

In 2001 the government of Grenada installed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the killings and develop a policy on how to deal with it. In 2009 Bernard Coard and 17 other people who were convicted for the murder of Bishop and his comrades were released from prison.

In that year the new international airport whose construction was started under the Bishop administration was named after Maurice Bishop.

The Revolution under the leadership of Maurice Bishop was a big inspiration for Grenada and thousands of people outside of Grenada. I and my wife Sitla visited Grenada in July 1983. We were part of those thousands of working bees in the anti-imperialist movement. After the invasion we mourned the loss of a revolution and regained our strength to carry forward in our activism.

One day we will visit Grenada again and pay our homage to the people of Grenada and the revolution that has inspired us and thousands of other working bees in the movement against imperialism and for freedom and justice.

Sandew Hira

The Hague, October 28, 2020


[1] Coard, B. (2017): The Grenada Revolution. What really happened?. Mc Dermott. Kingston, p. 94.

[2] Idem.

[3] Lenin, V. (2011): Collected Works. Volume 21. Progress Publishers. Moscow, p. 213-214.

[4] Guevara, Che (1961), p. 1-2..

[5] Plekhanov, G. (1976): On the Question of the Individual’s role in History. Progress Publishers. Original 1898,  Moscow, p. 13-14.


[7] Coard, B. (2017), p. 93.

[8] Idem, p. 146.

[9] Idem, p. 152.

[10] Idem, p. 152-153.

[11] Idem, p. 94.

[12] Idem, p. 147.

[13] Idem, p. 137.

[14] Idem, p. 242.

[15] Idem.

[16] Idem, p. 228.