Frequently Asked Questions
What does LANDS stand for?
“LANDS” stands for “Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism”
What is LANDS?
LANDS is an emerging political movement. It aims to build an alliance among progressive forces in Jamaica, and build a platform based on the consensus in that network. The network aims to include political cadres, non-political clubs, social movements, community organisations, labour unions, etc.
What is your ideology?
At this stage, the ideology of the organisation is generally for national liberation and democracy; most members are Socialists, but some persons don’t identify themselves with any particular ideology or label. We welcome persons of different ideologies and backgrounds to join; someone doesn’t need to be a Socialist or Communist to join LANDS, because LANDS is supposed to be an alliance between Socialists and other progressive tendencies.
Are you going to run in elections?
We have no intentions of competing in parliamentary politics right now. If we compete in parliamentary politics, we may form an electoral arm dedicated to that with its own separate name and identity.
What are you trying to accomplish?
In general, we are trying to build more national dialogue around issues that affect our people. We feel as if the people don’t have enough input on decisions that affect them, and we feel as if the economy is set up in a way that doesn’t benefit most people.
What would you do if you were in government?
Our top priorities would be building stronger democratic state institutions through constitutional reform, and implementing policies that bring us closer to food sovereignty and energy sovereignty.
How can I get more information?
The best way to get more information is to contact us directly, or to attend our meetings.
How often do you meet?
We have multiple groups that we call units, and each unit has their own meeting schedule. Right now, we have one that meets weekly, while the others meet either once or twice per month. We had over 90 meetings in 2018.
What are your meetings like? What do you talk about?
Our meetings are usually informal gatherings of 5-15 persons. We mostly discuss current affairs, but we sometimes do some political education as well. Occasionally, we have breather sessions where we just vent or do group activities like watching films or playing board games.
How do you keep track of the things said at informal meetings?
Even though the meetings are informal, the co-ordinator of the unit is responsible for submitting a meeting report which notes the points that were made and the conclusions that were reached at each meeting. The co-ordinator of each unit has access to reports submitted by other units, so this allows units to engage with each other’s points.
So people just talk and make their points, then move on?
No, it doesn’t stop at talking and venting. There are bodies in the network responsible for taking action like making formal proposals based on the thoughts and ideas that are expressed; as the network grows larger, these proposals will have more weight. In the future, we may even have the capacity to organise protests or proper media campaigns. Action is based on whatever is expressed in the meetings, so someone can propose that we do something, then it is discussed and we - collectively as a network of multiple units - decide whether we’re going to do it.
How can I attend meetings?
To attend meetings, you just need to register as an observer; you will be put in touch with someone who will be responsible for staying in touch with you and keeping you updated, rather than just being sent newsletters and routine emails. Being an observer doesn’t come with any obligations, and it is different from being a member.
What is the difference between a member and an observer?
Being an observer just means that you are kept in mind when we have meetings, so we invite you to our meetings, we welcome your input, and we stay in touch with you. Being a member means that you’re a part of LANDS, you pay dues, and you’re able to participate in our internal elections.
How does someone become a member?
You can apply to be a member by filling out the membership application form. You must be an observer before you apply for membership. You may only apply for membership if you were born in Jamaica, if you live in Jamaica, or both. The form asks questions about your views and your level of commitment.