Introduction to the New World

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New World Quarterly 1963-1972

The first issue of New World was published in Georgetown, Guyana in 1963. The last was published in Mona, Jamaica, in 1972[1]. In all, 14 issues of the journal appeared. Reprinted here, they constitute an invaluable record of significant intellectual expressions and political developments in the Anglophone Caribbean in the early post-colonial period. They also provide insights into the birth, flourishing and eventual demise of one of the region’s most influential intellectual movements.

The New World Group was formed by that name in Georgetown in 1962. Its origins lay in the ‘West Indian Society for the Study of Social Issues’ (WISSI) that had emerged in 1960-1961 at the Mona Campus of the UWI. Less important, perhaps, than the specific details of formation are a consideration of the social and political forces that gave rise to it. For this, we must recall historical context.

The 1960s in the Anglophone Caribbean was a time of transition—psychological, no less than political. The old colonial order was on dying, but there was considerable uncertainty, and much debate, over what would replace it. What kind of societies and economies could, and should, be shaped once political independence was attained? Was Westminster democracy an appropriate form of government for the West Indies? Could politicians be trusted with their newly-acquired power? Could economic regionalism be a substitute for the failed West Indies Federation? Was there such a thing as a ‘West Indian identity’ and what was the role of the artist in reflecting and shaping it? What about Rastafarianism and Pan-Africanism? The Cold War had entered the region forcefully, as Cuba’s young revolution cemented an alliance with the Soviet Union, Dr. Jagan in Guyana was an avowed Marxist and other political leaders had opted for Western-style democracy and mixed economies. What role did socialism have to play in building the new societies, and what foreign policy should independent West Indian states adopt? These were the kinds of questions that preoccupied young West Indian scholars and political leaders-in-waiting, now working in increasing numbers at the Mona Campus.

Lloyd Best

The central figure in the WISSI and later, in the New World Group, was Lloyd Best, a young Trinidadian economist who had come to Mona in 1958 after training in Britain. Brilliant, original, insightful, provocative, irreverent and not a little arrogant, Best is an exemplar par excellence of the intellectual charismatic leader. He was to become intellectual mentor to several generations of West Indian students, scholars, journalists and political leaders. Among his talents was the ability to coin a phrase that provoked an alternative perspective on a familiar problem. Examples are ‘Plantation Economy’, ‘Doctor Politics’ and ‘Industrialization by Invitation’, which have entered the language of every day intellectual discourse.

We start our review by drawing attention to five items by Best that defined the contours and content of his political, social, economic and epistemic philosophy. To a significant degree, this became the philosophy of the New World Group as a whole and the inspiration behind the journal. The first, ‘Working Notes Towards the Unification of Guyana’ (I) [2], which appeared in the first issue of the journal, argued that the root of the political crisis in Guyana lay in the importation of foreign ideologies from the West and the East—ideologies that are alien to the West Indian experience. In other words, both Western-style capitalism/democracy and Soviet-style centrally planned economy could not work to produce development in Guyana, and commitment to either by the two main political parties was making the problem worse. The essay proposed a locally designed development programme as the basis for a coalition government. The programme would be free of ideological bias, and informed by a careful study of the history, sociology and economic structures of the country. The initiative was rejected, and Guyana continued its descent into ethno-political polarization that persists to this day. Over forty years later, this document continues to have relevance in the basic principles informing the proposals.

In ‘Chaguaramas to Slavery?’[3] (Dead Season 1965, II.1), Best severely criticised the PNM Administration of Dr. Eric Williams for its actions in relation to the Chaguaramas Agreement[4] and the break-up of the West Indies Federation[5]. He argued that the retreat of Dr. Williams on the two issues amounted to a failure to seize a rare historic opportunity for the ‘shifting of responsibility from outside and to the West Indian people’. For him, this was the true meaning and purpose of political independence. In his best-known paper ‘Independent Thought and Caribbean Freedom’ (Cropover 1967, III, 4), he delivered a comprehensive statement of his epistemic, political, economic and social philosophy. Its Pan-Caribbean vision derived from the historical influence of ‘King Sugar’, its critique of economic dependency and of government industrialisation strategies, its vigorous rejection of the metropolitan imperialism of both the West and the East, its polemical critique of orthodox Marxism as a kind of Catholic ‘church’, its thesis that social change begins with ideas and that ‘thought is action for us’, and hence that ‘independent thought’ is the means of attaining Caribbean freedom–all these are now recognised as distinctive features of Best’s contribution to Caribbean thought, and are strongly associated with New World thinking.

In ‘Thought and Freedom’ Best charged that the younger members of his generation who were impatient to take political power were ill-equipped and unprepared for the task. He returned to this theme in ‘Whither New World?’ (Dead Season 1967, IV.1), once again rebutting the arguments of critics who were pressing for New World to become a political organization. It was necessary, he argued, to ‘erode the intellectual and philosophical foundations of the old order so as to guard against the mere substitution of one political elite for another’ (914). However, a significant change in tone and emphasis is discernible in the ‘The Next Round’ (Crop Time 1968; IV, 2). Here he announced the political arrival of ‘the generation born since Moyne…the men who constitute the decisive cohort for the next round’. The piece ended with a ringing declaration:

Dessalines and Duvalier, no! radical reform, si! Yes, social and economic revolution, a fundamental change in regime, in system of society. (993).

To his contemporaries, this must have sounded very much like a political call to arms. It proved to be Best’s last article in New World Quarterly and, as we later explain, it came at a turning point in the history of the New World Group and in that, of political developments in the region[6].

George Beckford

 

George Beckford (‘Gbeck’) was probably the second most influential thinker and personality of the New World movement[7]. Beckford met Best when he went to work at the St. Augustine (Trinidad) Campus of the UWI in 1964, and, in the words of the latter, ‘it was love at first sight’. The two men had a personal, intellectual and philosophical affinity that was based on a common consciousness of the pervasive influence of the plantation in shaping Caribbean life and in defining the region’s distinctive character[8]. The synergy was productive. Beckford was Best’s chief collaborator in the editing and production of New World Quarterly from 1964 and became Managing Editor after Best’s departure from the Mona Campus in 1966. He was the focal point of the Jamaica New World Group: a charismatic personality with no interest in personal political power, and a born iconoclast who was nevertheless destined to become an icon in his own right. He had a blunt manner of speaking and writing that formed a counterpoint to Best’s almost lyrical prose.

In his articles and editorials, Beckford placed his own stamp on the character of New World. His account of a visit to Cuba in 1965 (Crop Time 1966; II, 2) was a sympathetic treatment of the land reform, mass education programmes and popular mobilization that were central features of the early years of the Cuban Revolution[9]. His articles on the West Indian banana industry (II, 1 and 5, 3) critiqued the role of multinational companies and advocated peasant-based agricultural development, arguments that were to be fully developed in his celebrated work, Persistent Poverty[10]. Also notable are his editorial statements in the 1967 issues for High Season, Cropover and Dead Season (III,3; III, 4; and IV.1).

Political Economy

Issues in Caribbean political economy formed one of the principal subject areas of articles in New World Quarterly[11]. Here, four inter-related themes can be distinguished. First, there were critiques of the current development strategies of West Indian governments as being incapable of generating full employment and self-sustaining growth, but rather as perpetuating economic dependency. Besides Best’s polemic, there were evaluations of Jamaica post-war development by Owen Jefferson (High Season 1967; III, 3), of Trinidad and Tobago’s industrialisation by Edwin Carrington (Dead Season 1967 and Crop Time 1968; IV, 1 and IV, 2), and an assessment of the prospects for restructuring Trinidad’s economy by Selwyn Ryan (Crop Over 1968, IV, 4).

Second, there was critical analysis of the role of foreign companies in leading export industries—sugar, bauxite, and bananas. Outstanding in this regard was the public debate in Jamaica in 1968 over the desirability of maintaining the sugar industry in its existing form. The debate pitted New World economists against representatives of the sugar industry in publicly broadcast exchanges and established the Group in Jamaica as a force to be reckoned with on policy issues. The exchanges were published in the Crop Time 1969 (5, 1 & 2) issue and are an important documentary record of an issue that continues to have resonance in the light of recent changes in European Union policies affecting sugar. The role of multinational companies in bauxite was also the subject of critical analysis, by the present writer (5, 3 and V,4). Treatment of the banana industry has already been mentioned.

Third, and encapsulating the above, there was the theme of economic dependence. This had been identified from the very first issue of the journal (with reference to Guyana) and in successive issues, it broadened into one the main modes of characterising the ‘Caribbean economy’. Thus, Seda-Bonilla’s discussion of dependence as an obstacle to growth in Puerto Rico (Dead Season 1965; II, 1) had two-fold significance. It helped to discredit the ‘Puerto Rican’ model of industrialisation, which had earlier been held up as an example for the rest of the Caribbean to follow, and it provided a characterisation that placed that country squarely within the Pan-Caribbean family. The special issue on the ‘New Mercantilism’ (Crop Time 1968; IV, 2), brought together several strands of this thinking. Following Carrington’s critique of industrialisation by invitation in Trinidad and Tobago, Girvan and Jefferson argued that the integrated structure of the multinational corporations engaged in foreign direct investment contradicted the goal of regional economic integration. Kari Levitt showed that the same processes were operating to promote dependence and disintegration in Canada. This was certainly one of the most significant issues of the journal in terms of impact.

Finally, there was the theme of regional economic integration. McIntyre’s article on ‘Caribbean Economic Community’ (Crop Time 1966; II,2), is still regarded as a seminal piece that in many ways set the framework for the Integration Studies of the University of the West Indies. ‘Size and Survival’ by Best, published in the Guyana Independence Issue (2, 3 & 4), is a famous polemic on the equally famous book of Demas on the economics of development in small countries. The public debate over CARIFTA (the Caribbean Free Trade Association) involving James Millette and private sector leaders was probably the first of its kind in questioning the distribution of benefits and costs among different socio-economic classes of market-led economic integration. This was covered in the Crop Time and Crop Over 1968 issues (IV, 2 and IV, 4).

Beyond disciplinary boundaries

New World Quarterly was more than just a journal of political economy. One of its defining characteristics was the harmonious intellectual co-habitation of young West Indian scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds that it embodied. Historians, poets, literary critics, economists, political scientists, sociologists and journalists found nothing amiss in publishing in the pages of the same journal. Indeed, they welcomed the opportunity to read, and to be read by, one another in fulfilment of a shared intellectual mission.

Consider, for example, the composition of the editorial board reported in 1966/67 (III, 1 & 2). There were Roy Augier (historian, St Lucia), Gloria Lannaman (historian/writer, Jamaica), Cliff Lashley (literary critic, Jamaica), James Millette (historian, Trinidad/Tobago,), David De Caires (publisher and journalist Guyana), Lloyd Best (economist, Trinidad/Tobago), George Lamming (writer, Barbados), and Mervin Alleyne (linguistics, Trinidad/Tobago). Responsible for circulation was George Beckford (economist, Jamaica) and Treasurer was Owen Jefferson (economist, Jamaica). An even wider of range of disciplines, subjects and territories is represented in the tables of contents of the various issues. Indeed, there could hardly be a more telling demonstration of the potential for the development of a unified Caribbean consciousness, and of the feasibility of collaborative efforts that transcend the sterile divisions of discipline, occupation and territory, than that which is embodied in the fourteen issues of the journal.

History and Politics

History was the context in which contemporary issues in economics, sociology, politics, and the literary arts were located. Epistemic and psychological dependence, plantation economy and society, doctor politics—these ideas emanating from the New World Group were rooted in a close study and deep appreciation of the role of historical influences in conditioning the institutions, structures and behaviour patterns of Caribbean society. The legacy of centuries in a colonial condition would not be wiped out merely by a legal instrument conferring constitutional nationhood. The first issue of the journal insisted that historical analysis would be the starting point for a development programme capable of reconciling the warring ethno-political factions in Guyana (Vol. I). In subsequent issues, Elsa Goveia reported on a seminar on the relationship of history and on planning in the West Indies (Dead Seaso 1965; II, 1). Roy Augier discussed the significance of Morant Bay on the 100th anniversary of the rebellion (Crop Time 1966; II, 2). Aspects of Guyana’s and Barbados’s history were explored in the issues marking the independence of each (II, 3 and 4 and III, 1 and 2), and Gordon Lewis and Douglas Hall assessed the legacy of colonialism in the West Indies and Jamaica respectively (High Season 1967 and High Season 1968; III,3 and IV,3). Key historical texts were reviewed, among them those of Elsa Goveia and Frantz Fanon (High Season 1967; III,3). History was also the backdrop for analysis of politics, notably Archie Singham’s notion of ‘Cuckoo Politics’ in Ceylon, British Guiana and Grenada (Dead Season 1965; II,1), Trevor Munroe’s assessment of nationalism and democracy in Jamaica (Crop Time 1968; IV,4), and discussions of Belize (then British Honduras) and of political crises in Haiti by Gerard La Tortue[12] and in St. Vincent by Kenneth John (High Season 1967; III,3).

Literature

Literature occupied a prominent place in New World Quarterly. The journal provided an outlet for original publication of poems, reviews and commentaries by both young and already established writers and critics. Many were, or were destined to become, household names in the Caribbean literary arts. A sampling of the tables of contents shows that in the regular issues of the Quarterly poems were published by Martin Carter, Anthony La Rose, Sylvia Wynter-Carew, Syl Lowhar, Jan Carew, Ras Dizzy, Lloyd King, Stanley French, Cliff Lashley and Nathan Richards. Kamau Braithwaite was reviewed by Mervyn Morris, Jean Rhys by Wally Look-Lai, Vidia Naipaul by both Gordon Rohlehr and Marjorie Thorpe, and Earl Lovelace by Helen Pyne-Timothy. The integration of literature with history and the social sciences had its fullest expression in the Guyana and the Barbados Independence issues, edited by George Lamming (2, 3 &4; III, 1 & 2). The 69 items appearing in these issues constitute an invaluable set of commentaries on the two countries, on the threshold of their nationhood, and are among the finest expressions of West Indian intellectual creativity in the early post-colonial period.

International developments

Note also that New World Quarterly was not exclusively preoccupied with Caribbean matters, for articles on international developments of particular interest to the region were regularly included. Events in the wider Caribbean were the subject of critical assessment (besides the Cuban Revolution), such as the U.S. interventions in the Dominican Republic and in Central America. Developments in Africa and in the Black Diaspora were the subject of articles on Tanzanian socialism, Pan-Africanism and the Rhodesian rebellion. Socialist agriculture in China was analysed by Joan Robinson. Harry Magdoff gave a preview of his thesis on imperialism in an article on U.S. corporations, and Immanuel Wallerstein assessed violence vs. persuasion as a means of social change.

The demise of New World Quarterly

After 1969, there was a decline in the frequency of appearance of New World Quarterly. Two issues were published in the three years 1970-1972 compared to 12 issues in the previous seven years. The content of the last two issues was also noticeably thinner by comparison with previous issues: the Forum was absent, there was no discussion of Caribbean politics and the literary content was smaller. The question naturally arises, why did this rich flowering of creative, Pan-Caribbean intellectual effort wither, and eventually die, at least in the particular form in which it had appeared[13]?

The demise of the Quarterly was a consequence of the demise of the New World Group itself. The events of 1968-69 were decisive as to proximate causes, particularly the repercussions of the debate over CARIFTA in Trinidad and the Rodney Riot in Jamaica. At this time, there were three actively functioning New World Groups based respectively in Trinidad, Jamaica and Montreal. In November of 1968, Lloyd Best broke away from the James Millette-led Trinidad New World Group, citing political differences with the leadership over its orientation and style, as shown in the CARIFTA debate. Best took key members of the Trinidad Group with him and formed the Tapia House Group. The Trinidad Group did not survive the split. Eventually Millette formed his own political party, and the Group ceased to function. The Montreal Group was devastated by events in Trinidad and it too, soon died. The case of the Jamaica Group was somewhat different in specifics, although the underlying issues were similar. After the Rodney Riot, several of its members gravitated towards the more popular, radical and activist Abeng collective and newspaper. Among them were George Beckford, Managing Editor of the New World Quarterly, and the present writer, then Chairman of the Jamaica Group. It was expected that the Quarterly would be sustained by the efforts of other members, especially non-Jamaican members of the University community, whose off-Campus activities had come under intense scrutiny from the Jamaican authorities as a result of the Rodney affair. But the Group eventually wound down. The impact of the spilt in Trinidad and the associated political and personal issues, of the departure of its two principal ‘charismatic intellectuals’ in the persons of Best and Beckford, and of the growing radicalisation of politics in the region, proved fatal to the survival of the New World Group and its flagship journal.

These were the proximate causes. But what lay behind them? From very early in the Group’s existence there were two issues that had been divisive within the membership. One was the issue of intellectual activity vs. direct political activity— ‘thought’ vs. ‘action’. As already noted, one of the main motives for Best’s article on ‘Independent Thought and Caribbean Freedom’ was to argue that ‘thought is action for us’. But the controversy refused to go away. In fact, it sharpened as New World ideas achieved greater currency and public impact, leading to growing demands on the Groups for outreach activities. In Jamaica, public forums on the Anguilla secession in 1967 and on the sugar industry in 1968 had attracted hundreds of participants and the proceedings were nationally broadcast over radio. In Trinidad, the CARIFTA debate was covered by the national press over several months in 1967-1968, and a series of public lectures was launched. Another sign of this development was increasing resort to popular publication. Between 1966 and 1969 the Jamaica New World Group published pamphlets on the Beckford passport issue, the expulsion of Dr. Jay Mandle, unemployment, the sugar industry, and on human rights[14]. The Trinidad Group also launched the publication of Occasional Bulletins. As popular outreach activities intensified, the distinction between ‘intellectual work’ and ‘political action’ became increasingly blurred. The split in the Trinidad Group and the move into Abeng of leading members of the Jamaican Group were the culmination of these developments. In a sense, New World had helped to catalyse a political dynamic that contributed to its own demise: it became a victim of its own success.

The other divisive issue was Marxism. New World’s foundational philosophy of rejecting Marxism as an alien or ‘imported’ ideology came under increasing fire from a younger generation of scholar-activists. Notable among them were Walter Rodney and Trevor Munroe. Rodney advocated a brand of radicalism that was a synthesis of Marxist class analysis with Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism and elements of Rastafarianism. Munroe espoused the more orthodox brand of Marxism, and in 1971 he delivered a critique of New World thinking and political practice, which he characterised as ‘bourgeois idealism’[15]. Monroe’s thinking was highly influential among younger scholars and students throughout the region[16]. Dissatisfaction with New World’s hostility to Marxism intersected with the growing interest in direct political action. Hence, New World failed to reproduce itself as the young intelligentsia turned to other organisations.

The ongoing controversies were reflected in the pages of the Quarterly. The editorial statement in the Crop Time 1966 issue (II, 2) defined New World publications as ‘radical’, but went on to explain that this radicalism was “nothing more nor less than a sustained application of thought to the matters that concern us deeply”; and was not to be identified with “Socialism, Liberalism, Radicalism, or Communism” (230).

The editorial for the High Season 1967 (III, 3) reported dissatisfaction ‘both within the movement and outside’ with recent issues of the Quarterly because of their excessively literary content, the absence of a prescriptive approach, and the limited ‘mass’ appeal of its language. There was an admission that “we failed in our Independence Issues to truly take stock and reflect upon the meaning and significance of constitutional independence in the contemporary Caribbean” (746). That issue initiated a reader’s Forum as a regular feature of the journal, with an article critical of New World by Barry Reckord.

In the next issue (Cropover 1967; III, 4), it was reported that the New World Movement was in the ‘heat of a protracted internal debate’, four contributions were published on the contentious issues. Best rejoined the debate in ‘Whither New World’ appearing in the following issue (Dead Season 1967; IV, 1). The editorial statement for this issue reported great progress by New World in ‘promoting a dialogue among the people in the region’ and ended on an optimistic and self-confident note:

The NEW WORLD MOVEMENT is continuously gaining ground. New Group are being formed everywhere. And older groups are extending their influence as a forum for serious discussion and original thought. In Jamaica, we have in the past few months provided the only national forum for the public to express their views on Anguilla, devaluation and the future of sugar. No less than one thousand people have been directly involved in these discussions. The Trinidad Group has run a valuable public lecture series on “West Indian Society in the Sixties”. And many people have started to wonder whether NEW WORLD is a part of the University of the West Indies or whether it is the other way round. Our aim remains clear: to promote radical change in all aspects of Caribbean life and society so as to release the long-suppressed creative energies of the peoples of the region (913-914)[17].

The following issue (Crop Time 1968; IV, 2) contained Best’s editorial on ‘The Next Round’ which, as noted, read like a declaration of political intent. Shortly thereafter, Best split from the Trinidad Group. He charged that New World and in particular, the Trinidad Group under the leadership of James Millette, was embarking on a course of action aimed at the taking of political power, thereby deviating from its original mission. Best’s statements received great publicity in the Trinidad press. In response, the Crop Over 1968 issue (IV, 4) of the Quarterly reported that the Trinidad Group was passing through a ‘mild crisis’ (1214). This might have been an attempt to downplay the significance of the split, but the editorial, provocatively entitled ‘Round and Round’[18], strongly condemned Best for the manner of his attacks on New World, the omissions in his statements and the intellectual position discernible behind them. It charged him with ‘over-simplification’, ‘misrepresentation’ and the ‘caricature of distortion’. It ended by taking the position that Best’s distinction between ‘thought’ and ‘action’ was difficult to sustain in practice:

…what we shall need is not one thing at a time – political education then politics – but a rhythmic movement of all things at the same time. If New World rejects this kind of understanding of its work, it will run the risk of fixing its grasp below the fullness of its reach (1214-1215)[19].

There was considerable irony in the fact that the person who was co-founder of New World, and had been its principal intellectual influence during most of its life, was now being taken to task by his erstwhile intellectual followers. The editorial implied that Best might be exhibiting the same ‘Doctor Politics’ style of political behaviour that he had so mercilessly analysed among West Indian politicians. This was an indication of the growing maturity of the New World as a movement. Hence, it is all the more regrettable that the crisis, instead of becoming an occasion for renewal, proved to be one of a series of terminal events. A report by the Chairman of the Mona Group[20] in the following issue (Crop Time 1969; 5, 1 & 2) noted the ‘severe demoralisation and confusion’ in the Trinidad New World Group resulting from the ‘split involving a founder of the Group and its current Chairman’ (1314). It also observed that the effect of the launch of Moko in Trinidad and Abeng in Jamaica had been to ‘weaken New World’. In Jamaica, the ‘frequency of and attendance at our meetings have fallen off, and discussion has been lackadaisical’ (1315-1316). Although the report argued that the need for New World had been strengthened by these developments, the loss of interest continued, with predictable consequences for the journal[21].

The editorial in the final issue (Crop Over 1972; 5, 4), in observing that new organisations had emerged ‘out of what has been considered the limitations of New World’, also affirmed that ‘New World men are pressing on with the task as they see it…one of changing the society structurally for the benefit of the people of the Caribbean’ (1502). This issue was devoted mainly to Guyana’s bauxite nationalization, but what was significant about the last issues of New World Quarterly were the omissions in coverage of other major developments affecting the region and the Movement. It would have been useful, for instance, to reproduce the text of Best’s charges and the responses from Millette in the Quarterly’s Forum section, with the aim of informing readers outside of Trinidad and Tobago and stimulating further debate, but this did not happen. Similarly, Munroe’s 1971 critique might have been published in order to generate further exchanges on the issue of Marxism vs. ‘New Worldism’. But there is no reference to Munroe’s paper anywhere in the journal. The Rodney affair was treated in only article, and there was no assessment of the ideology of Black Power, which had gained much ground in the region. Other notable omissions were discussion of the ‘February Revolution’ of 1970 in Trinidad-Tobago and the victory of the Michael Manley-led PNP in the Jamaican election of 1972. In earlier days, such developments would have been the subject of extensive commentary in the pages of New World Quarterly. These omissions were a further sign of the loss of intellectual vitality in the movement.

 

Lessons

 

I am convinced that the disappearance of New World Quarterly was a significant intellectual loss to the region, and that those of us who were involved made a big mistake in allowing it to happen. One thinks of other momentous developments of the 1970s which would have benefited from critical analysis in the New World tradition. There were the establishment of CARICOM, the independence of the East Caribbean states, the Cuba question, the oil crisis, state-led development in Trinidad and Tobago, Democratic Socialism in Jamaica and Co-operative Socialism in Guyana, the Grenada Revolution, not to speak of the developments of the 1980s and 1990s. New World Quarterly was unique in being regional in scope and in responsibility for production, and critical and Caribbean-centred in outlook. Other media have served this purpose, but only partially[22], and not with this particular combination of attributes. Indeed, the need continues.

One lesson that can be drawn from the New World experience, therefore, is the need for continuity in initiatives of this kind. There are others. A little-known fact of New World is that the Quarterly, and other publications, were sustained entirely by voluntary effort and local resources. People worked long hours on the writing, preparation and distribution of the journal without any form of monetary compensation whatever. They did so because they believed in the cause for which it stood, and the work was its own satisfaction. The journal was financed by proceeds from sales and advertisements by locally-owned companies—as a matter of principle, advertisements were not sought or accepted from foreign companies operating in the region.

In an age, when academics have become consultancy-driven, when mercenary tests are applied to every decision on the expenditure of time and effort, when West Indians see nothing amiss in the fact that their cricket team is financed by two foreign multinational companies and by a Texas-based millionaire, when the University of the West Indies increasingly takes on the appearance of three autonomous provincial colleges rather than being a focal point for genuinely regional academic community, when dialogue between scholars in the social sciences and those in the humanities is rare and conversation between economists and non-economists, rarer still, and when communication among scholars in the Pan-Caribbean linguistic zones remains minimal, the example of New World as a movement motivated by an integral conception of knowledge and social reality, with a Pan-Caribbean cosmology rooted in the special history of the region and its peoples, a movement sustained by a belief that with local effort anything is possible – that true development can only be from within—remains as a source of inspiration for future generations.

Norman Girvan

[1] The first issue of New World (Volume 1, reprinted in this collection) was succeeded by two publications: New World Fortnightly, which was published in Georgetown by David deCaires from 1964 to X, and New World Quarterly, which was published in Mona from 1964 to 1972 in 13 issues, beginning with Volume II. In this Introduction, we are treating the first issue as Volume I of the Quarterly.

[2] The article was published under the name of ‘some New World Associates’, but was actually co-authored by Best with the Guyanese lawyer Miles Fitzpatrick, as Best was at the time working as United Nations adviser to the Cheddi Jagan administration, and could not have published under his own name.

[3] The title of this article was a polemical reversal of a lecture that had been delivered in Woodford Square by Dr. Williams entitled “From Slavery to Chaguaramas”.

[4] After leading a popular campaign for the return of the U.S. Naval Base at Chaguaramas as the site of the capital of the West Indies Federation, Dr. Williams, then Premier of Trinidad and Tobago, came to an agreement for the United States to remain in possession in return for a package of economic assistance.

[5] After Jamaicans voted in a national referendum to secede from the West Indies Federation, Dr. Williams also decided to leave the Federation, arguing that “one from ten leaves nought”.

[6] See the discussion, towards the end of this Introduction, of the split and eventual collapse of the New World Group.

[7] George Beckford, who was born in 1934, died in 1990.

[8] Hence issues of the New World Quarterly took their time of publication from the names of seasons in the annual cycle of the sugar crop: ‘Dead Season’, ‘Crop Time’, ‘High Season and ‘Cropover’.

[9] Beckford paid a personal price for his uncompromising stand on Cuba, as the Jamaican Government seized his passport following the visit, an action that was transformed in a cause celébre in academic and political circles and signalled the onset of repression of progressive thinking by the JLP regime and a growing antagonism between West Indian governments and the academic community.

[10] George L. Beckford, Persistent Poverty: Underdevelopment in the Plantation Economies of the Third World. New York: Oxford University Press and Mona: Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1971.

[11] A compilation of political economy writings appearing in New World publications, including several pamphlets that did not appear in the Quarterly (and are therefore not included in this collection) was published in Readings in the Political Economy of the Caribbean, eds. Norman Girvan and Owen Jefferson. Mona: New World Group Ltd., 1971.

[12] Gerard la Tortue became Prime Minister of Haiti after the ouster of President Bertrand Aristide in March 2004.

[13] . Lloyd Best has argued that New World did not die, but continued in the form of organisations that he subsequently founded: the Tapia Group and its successor, the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies; and their respective publications. By contrast with the New World Quarterly, however, these publications are much more Trinidad-based in their production, outreach and impact.

[14] The Withdrawal of Dr. Beckford’s Passport (1966); Freedom from Enquiry,(1967); Unemployment in Jamaica (1967); King Sugar and the New World (1968); and Government, the Police and Personal Freedom (1968); all published by the Mona New World Group.

[15] The paper, ‘New World Philosophy and Marxist Ideology’, was finally published as chapter five in Trevor Munroe, Jamaican Politics: A Marxist Perspective in Transition. Heinemann and Lynne Reinner, 1990.

[16] It is ironic that many years later Munroe and other prominent members of the Worker’s Party of Jamaica, which he led, completely recanted on their position on New World; in effect conceding that they had been wrong and that Best had been right. In Monroe’s words, his paper on New World “provides many an illustration of the neo-Stalinist Marxism in which the Left became enmeshed”. Munroe 1990: 4. See also Rupert Lewis, “Lloyd Best and Epistemic Challenges” in Selwyn Ryan (ed.) Independent Thought and Caribbean Freedom: Essays in Honour of Lloyd Best St. Augustine: Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, University of the West Indies, 2003; pp.89-102

[17] This statement was probably written by George Beckford.

[18] The title suggests a play of words on the title of Best’s previous editorial, ‘The Next Round’, with the implication that Best himself may have been guilty of the sin of ‘Doctor Politics’ of which he had accused Millette and New World.

[19] This statement may have been written by Lewis Bobb, the editor for the issue, but it probably was approved by George Beckford as Managing Editor, and possibly by other members of the Editorial Board.

[20] The present writer.

[21] I have no record of when the Mona New World Group actually ceased meeting, but it was probably in 1969 or 1970. The same is probably true of the Groups in Trinidad and in Montreal.

[22] For example, Social and Economic Studies, Savacou, Caribbean Contact, Tapia Review, Trinidad and Tobago Review, the publications of the Association of Caribbean Economists, and more recently Small Axe.