The primary condition for the successful establishment and maintenance of a coalition is agreement by the two factions of the popular movement on a programme of economic, social and cultural reform.
- The main obstacle in the way of agreement is the difference between the leaders on questions of strategy. Both sets of leaders agree:i) that the colonial economy must be reorganised to meet the demands of the local population for control of the national economic life, for full employment of all national resources (including labour) and for greater and more equitably distributed material well-being.ii) that the social structure must be reformed so as to eliminate all privilege and hierarchy incompatible with the dignity or the population at large;
iii) that the national culture must draw its vitality from the internal social and psychological needs of the population.
- Operational considerations have led the different leaders to assign different ideological tags to the ‘end product’ and to associate it with concrete institutional forms borrowed from their respective external sources of inspiration. This hardly compromises the basic agreement if only because the external models which are themselves largely specific to their own cultural, social and historical situations, are in any event, changing all the time and are therefore more in the nature of pace setters in a certain direction than executable blueprints.
- Yet it is precisely out of the association with foreign models (admittedly, necessary at a certain stage – see above) that the problem of strategy for each faction and the conflict of strategy between the factions arise. Ultimately the best road ahead can only be found by way of analysis of the specific economic, social and cultural conditions (and history) of the society. (Given the same goals this may well be a unique road). Uncritical borrowing of foreign models without the intervening stage of theoretical formulation serves merely to import considerations which neither recognise the possibilities of change permitted by local conditions nor respect the limits on these possibilities imposed by them.
- Thus, even if there had been only one dominant party in Guyana attempting to copy a foreign model there would have been problems of strategy. Trinidad and Jamaica bear this out empirically.* As it is, in Guyana there are two parties each flaunting a different ideological reference. This only complicates the situation and obscures the real issue without, perhaps, really adding anything to it.
- The problem here then is one of getting each party:i) to examine the local situation closely with a view to deciding what kinds of reform are necessary and what difficulties will arise from an attempt to introduce them.ii) to look critically at a selection of foreign models with a view to deriving a set of guiding principles of action rather than to copying any specific set of measures.
- If it is true, as assumed in 64, that both parties share the same goals, there is a chance of reaching agreement. Common goals, information and analysis are powerful unifiers.
- Earlier in this paper (especially Part III passim) and in Appendix II (2-6), some insight into the social and cultural condition of colonial Guyanese society has been given.
Socially, the society is stratified with low but growing mobility. Culturally, it is dependent, borrowing its values and preferred behaviour from the metropolitan power, from Europe and from outside generally. The social and cultural boundaries tend to be the same as the racial (and geographical) boundaries and (allowing for the inevitable effects of lags) are not very different from the economic boundaries. The stability of this order is threatened by the breakdown of the old Imperial system which brings the social and cultural kins of Europe under heavy fire. In so far as the whole society has been largely Europeanised, a cultural basis for Independence has yet to be defined. In so far as there has been differential Europeanisation those of closer kin (cultural as well as racial) feel more vulnerable.