Jamaica LANDS
Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism

Updates

Here, you will find updates about the organisation itself.

New Year Resolutions (2017)

 

In the coming weeks, including in January and February, the party will be passing internal resolutions to clarify its ideology, as well as stances on certain issues. These clarifications will be made publicly after passing the necessary procedures to become official party stances.

We held a set of internal meetings in September and October to discuss procedure, where we built a figurative table. In November, we have had a set of meetings to put some substantive things on that table, meaning that we began some discussions. As we add more things to our table, our next move must be to clear them off the table, meaning we come to conclusions on these discussions and then make our stance known. We also want to work on accomplishing our short-term goals, and discuss strategies and a plan of action for doing so.

We have already created a small and persistent presence online, 19 persons have registered to become involved with the party. 9 were initially offered observer status, and 10 were initially offered observer status. Of the 10 that were initially offered observer status, 4 have indicated interest in meeting the necessary requirements to become members. We are starting small, but we prefer to carefully build something solid than to build something fragile with hype. We have a few loyal persons who read our pieces, but we want our reach to go beyond that. We will consider making ourselves properly known to the media, but we want to sort out some internal things first.

We are considering forming an alliance with the People's National Party, but it will only be possible if they take us seriously, and if they realise the need for a revival of Socialist ideas in Jamaica. It would be much more difficult to form an alliance with the Jamaica Labour Party, as we would require them to denounce several of their historical actions like sabotaging the West Indies Federation, waging a war against Black Nationalism in the 1960s, waging a war on Socialism on the USA's behalf, aiding the US invasion of Grenada, and sending agents of the state to conduct a massacre of dozens of people in West Kingston in 2010.

The history of the People's National Party shows it as a force that is more in line with our ideals, but it has been poisoned by Liberalism since the 1980s. While we do not expect the People's National Party to necessarily take a hardline Socialist stance, we hope that they recognise that it is necessary for someone to take that stance, and that it will be us if they refuse to do it. If they accept that we will do it, we hope that they will be open to an alliance where they push their brand of Socialism and we push our brand of Socialism without being hostile to each other. We are under no illusion that they needs us for their survival, but an alliance would be beneficial since we are committed to our Socialist agenda. They have become out of touch with their older more Socialist delegates, and they have never been properly in touch with the new generation outside of their own loyalists; they have relied on loyalty and nostalgia to win elections, but we have come to the dawn of a new era where the party must make serious efforts to engage with the people again. We are a party of young persons, and we share the ideology of some of the older Socialists, so we believe that we can help the party to reconnect with both of the support bases that they need.

One thing lacking within the People's National Party is political education, which is something that LANDS will take seriously. We hope to work closely with them on this particular issue, not to impose our hardline stance on their party, but to help their party's members and officers to have a wider range of political knowledge that they can use to their benefit, and to set a framework in which political discussions must be held. There is often a lack of reference to class and race when some issues are discussed, despite both issues being problems in modern Jamaica.

Of course, before we expect the People's National Party or anyone else to take us seriously, we must have some substance of our own apart from criticisms and reactions to others. While we do not seek state power, we want to be involved in the national discussions that take place, but we need to have a consolidated party stance before doing so.

After formulating solid positions on specific sectors or issues, we plan to put a lot of effort into a serious social media campaign to expand our reach. We do not think that a party can survive by focusing on social media alone; it is a platform that is used mostly by youth of all classes, and middle class people of all ages. Of course it fails to properly reach most working-class people who are beyond a certain age. The reason we're choosing to use social media first is that it is easy to expand our reach without spending a lot of money and resources.

We also plan to engage people directly, in the bars, barbershops, hair salons, and the marketplaces. This does not mean that we will go to any of these places and make a scene. We are not going to walk into these spaces and stand on tables to try to make speeches; we are simply going to engage with persons over domino tables to hear what they have to say, to learn from them, and to reason with them.

Apart from reaching out to our own people, we want to build alliances with political parties and movements in other countries. We have already established contacts with some Comrades from other countries, and we intend to build strong relationships with the organisations that they are affiliated with.

 
Christophe Simpson