Sat | Aug 18, 2018

PNP needs to return to its roots

Published:Wednesday | March 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM


It's been well over 30 years since the People's National Party (PNP) did some real introspection and soul searching. In the late 1970s-1980, the party battled to determine its dominant ideology hardcore socialism or what we now call the neo-liberal outlay.

In the end, the neo-liberal faction won out, and the PNP, which had been markedly left, if not left of centre, came to reside ideologically in the centre. Along with this ideological shift came four electoral victories on the trot. This bred complacency.

Now, we have come to a fork in the road. The Jamaica Labour Party has finally regrouped and has embraced a 'humane' version of neo-liberalism. Socialists like myself and democratic socialists see no hope in the PNP. We see voices of social progress in the party sidelined or outright booted from positions of hierarchy.

The recent election has shown up the PNP. It has proven the party to be ideologically bankrupt. Putting aside the fact that socialists got in bed with the IMF (that argument is debatable as we do need economic reform), the party offered no vision of hope for the people.




If the PNP is to be relevant again, it needs to go back to its roots its roots where workers' rights were paramount, where social upliftment was demanded and where some state intervention was called for in the national interest (such as free health care). Until the PNP does this it will continue to float, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

The left is vibrant in this country. At university campuses, the left is still alive and thriving, most social groups and charities also have serious left wing leanings. They just need a banner under which they can unite. That is the tricky bit, but if the PNP can be that banner, then they may potentially shift the middle ground politically while regaining credibility in the eyes of the electorate.

Alexander Scott