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New Jewel Movement
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and Liberation, or New JEWEL Movement, was a Marxist Leninist vanguard political party in the Caribbean island nation of Grenada. The movement conducted a successful revolution in 1979 and ruled the country by decree until being deposed in 1983.

The New JEWEL Movement (NJM) was formally established March 11, 1973 with the merger of the Joint Endeavor 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 participating in Grenada. During the 1970s, the political situation in Grenada became increasingly polarized and violent.

In the late 1970s the NJM formed the National Liberation Army (NLA) also known as “The 12 Apostles”. Twelve men were sent to Guyana for secret military training in preparation for the overthrow of the government.

In 1979, the NJM launched a revolution against the government of Sir 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 (People's Revolutionary Government) with Maurice Bishop as Prime Minister.

Shortly after taking power, the government turned to Cuba for assistance. Cuban construction workers were brought into the country to assist in the construction of a new international airport. The government with Cuban assistance also created a large standing army. During its period of 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 army were only open to those who 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. Its ties to Cuba and its military expansion were of primary concern.

In 1983, a dispute developed within the NJM. Bishop, while popular with the people of Grenada, had strong critics within the NJM 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 where they would be co-equal rulers of the country. Bishop rejected this. 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 Bishop, who was very popular in the country, led to demonstrations in various parts of the country. The demonstrations grew to a point where Bishop was eventually freed by them. In unclear circumstances, Bishop made his way to the army headquarters. Eventually a military force from elsewhere in Grenada arrived at the army headquarters and fighting broke out. Many civilians died. At the end of the fighting, Bishop and seven others including government ministers, one of whom was pregnant were lined up in a courtyard against a wall for a considerable period of time. They, including the pregnant Creft who begged for her life and that of her unborn child, were afterwards murdered by a 'firing squad'.

Bishop's murder was followed by the formation of a military government under Hudson Austin to rule the country. 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.

The chaos and violence in Grenada resulted in a U.S. invasion of Grenada ("Operation Urgent Fury") and the overthrow of the military government six days later. Seventeen political and military officials of the NJM government (Grenada 17) were afterward detained. They were tried and convicted of being responsible for the deaths of Maurice Bishop and the other seven executed persons. With the removal of the NJM government, the constitution of Grenada was restored.

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Communism

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 consider that either the NJM or Grenada had reached a level of development where that was possible within their political doctrine. The NJM aspired to reach a point where a communist party could be formed and pursued policies that end. The NJM considered itself to be not ready due to the party not being led by a proletarian class and due to the low level of education in Marxist Leninist politics.