New Jewel Movement
|New Jewel Movement|
|Founded||11 March 1973|
|Merger of||Joint Endeavour for Welfare, Education, and Liberation (JEWEL) and Movement for Assemblies of the People (MAP)|
|Newspaper||The New Jewel|
|Politics of Grenada
The New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and Liberation, or New JEWEL Movement, was a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party in the Caribbean island nation of Grenada. The movement took control of the country with a successful revolution in 1979 and ruled by decree until being deposed by the US military after its 1983 invasion.
The New JEWEL Movement (NJM) was formally established on 11 March 1973 as an alliance of the Joint Endeavour for Welfare, Education, and Liberation (JEWEL) and the Movement for Assemblies of the People (MAP), led by young lawyer Maurice Bishop. From 1973 to 1979, the NJM was an opposition political party active in Grenada. During the 1970s, the political situation in Grenada became increasingly polarized and violent. For the 1976 general elections the organisation formed an electoral coalition known as the People's Alliance with the Grenada National Party and the United People's Party. However, the alliance lost to the ruling Grenada United Labour Party in elections which were branded fraudulent by international observers. In the late 1970s, the NJM formed the National Liberation Army (NLA), also known as "the 12 Apostles".
In 1979, the NJM launched a revolution against the government of Eric Gairy while he was out of the country. The NJM seized the military barracks, radio station, government buildings and police stations across the country. Maurice Bishop then suspended the constitution and announced that the NJM was now a provisional revolutionary government, the People's Revolutionary Government, with himself as Prime Minister. After the revolution, the NJM described itself as a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party. The party did not consider itself to be a communist party because it did not believe that either the NJM or Grenada had reached a level of development where it would be possible to achieve communism. The NJM pursued policies to reach a point where a communist party could be formed, but considered itself to be unready due to the party not being led by a proletarian class and due to the low level of education in Marxist-Leninist politics.
Shortly after taking power, the government turned to Cuba for assistance because Bishop had been refused aid and a meeting with American President Ronald Reagan. Cuban construction workers were brought in to assist in the construction of a new international airport. The government also created a modest police force, often misportrayed as an army, with Cuban assistance.
During its rule, the government did not hold elections or produce a new constitution to replace the one that had been suspended. The NJM was the sole political party allowed to exist. Positions in the government and the new police force were only open to those who had established their support for Marxist principles.
The leaders of several other Caribbean nations, and the U.S. government, were very concerned over many aspects of the NJM government, primarily its ties to Cuba and its alleged military expansion.
Bishop's fall and the American invasion
In 1983, a dispute developed within the NJM. Bishop, while popular with the people, had strong critics within the party and the army. His critics, led by deputy prime minister Bernard Coard, attempted to convince Bishop to enter into a power-sharing agreement with Coard, wherein they would be co-equal rulers of the country. Bishop rejected this idea, and the split at the top level of the NJM led to serious political problems within the party and the government. Eventually, Coard ordered Bishop put under house arrest.
The removal of the very popular Bishop led to demonstrations in various parts of the country. The demonstrations grew to a point where Bishop was eventually freed. In unclear circumstances, Bishop made his way to the army headquarters. Eventually a military force from elsewhere in Grenada arrived at the headquarters and fighting broke out. Many civilians were killed. Bishop and seven others, including government ministers, and the reportedly pregnant Jacqueline Creft, were lined up in a courtyard against a wall for a considerable period of time. They were then executed by a firing squad.
Bishop's execution was followed by the formation of a military government under Hudson Austin. Austin announced a four day total curfew under which anyone who left their home without authorization for any reason would be subject to summary execution. Six days later, the United States invaded Grenada and toppled the military government. With the removal of the NJM government, the constitution of Grenada was restored.
Seventeen political and military officials of the NJM government (the Grenada 17) were later tried and convicted of being responsible for the deaths of Bishop and the other seven executed persons.