Round Table with Oscar
November 26, 2013
The Revolution


At about 10 a.m. that morning, an excited and aroused Grenadian people heard this on the radio. “Brothers and sisters, this is Maurice Bishop speaking. At 4:15 a.m. this morning, the People’s Revolutionary Army seized control of the army barracks at True Blue. … I am now calling upon all the working people, the youths, workers, farmers, fishermen, middle class people and women to join our armed revolutionary forces at central positions in your communities and to give them any assistance they call for.{{more}}

… In closing, let me assure the people of Grenada that all democratic freedoms, including the freedom of elections, religious and political opinion, will be fully restored to the people of Grenada”.

That was in 1979. Many years earlier, a scattering of night workers in the cold hills got a similarly explosive message. “Don’t be afraid. I bring good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger”.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom its favour rests.”

When the angels had left them, and gone into heaven the shepherds said to one another “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which The Lord has told us about.” “Luke 2. 8-14 NIV.”

In our creole language, the core text says: “Na fraitn! di mesij mi hav go swiit yo an everibadi tu. Di wan weh gwai go sieve yu dis baan, tudeh ya, iina kin Dievid siti…”Luk 2. 10,11.”


In 1979, Grenadian people mobilized with the revolution. George Brizan’s book “Grenada, Island Of Conflict” had this to say. “On 13 March 1979 Gairy’s government was overthrown in an armed seizure of power: the overthrow was organized and executed by the New Jewel movement and sanctioned by the thousands who rallied to its banner.”

In the gospel of Luke, the workers said “let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing which The Lord has told us about. … When they had seen him, they spread the word.” “Luke 2. 15,17”. A revolution’s message mobilizes people – on both sides – because the destiny of revolution is abundant life for persons, the ending of hurt and the fashioning of righteous all round relations.

In the revolution which the gospels present, abundant life is a kind of global relief and righteousness or Reign/Kingdom of God. The inaugural speech from Jesus in Galilee was “The time has come. The Kingdom/Reign of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.” “Mark 1:15.” Each of these three sentences declares and demands a position. First Jesus says “Let me show you where we are now;” then he declares “the promised deliverance is just around the corner;” and finally Jesus concludes with invitation declaration: “this is what the good news expects of you; turn away from being caught up and complicit with the present unrighteousness, and commit to the reign of God’s righteousness”.

The revolutionary call is to convert from conconsa complicity in the status quo and convert to trust in a new order. Revolutionaries make huge personal and situational decisions and bear the costs. What, therefore, is the Utopia that drives and consumes them? It is not just a vision of closure for all hurts, mourning and injustice, the opening of eyes that were blind, the abolition of prisons and reshaping of the poor. All that “freedom is very sweet”, as a former slave Mary Prince said. But revolutionary utopia or cosmic righteousness always stretches beyond our imagination. It is mind blowing.

People who make or manage or co-manage revolutions become a new breed of human being, because historic revolution on earth is not just a gift from the sky. It is managed by persons who lead and love in a new way. They do not boss over others or treat the “poor things” with pity and sympathy. They become bigger and better humans because in the reign of God they are empowered with new graces for the tougher times.


When it comes to the political economy, the managing of activities to grow the supplies for the people, the society and the environment, revolution manages that in two ways. One way is to put a lot of stress on actually producing more, so as to be able to trade and earn and spend more. Economic growth and decent sharing with all. That is one way. A strong theme in Hebrew Christian scripture warns that when you set out to grow wealth and empire and security, you also grow poverty and injustice. “E.g. 1 Samuel 8. 11-17”. The other revolutionary approach to abundant material life is to first put in place Reign of God relationships and principles. These include first for righteousness and equity, solidarity with the poor, people’s faith as a factor in development, and labour power/ability to work as a personal talent and social treasure. When the revolutionary people possess, practice, reproduce and expand these principles and relationships, material abundance will fall into place because the father cares. “Matthew 6:33”

Revolutionary leadership does not present itself in one dimension only. The anonymous African who gave us this sculpture of Jesus shows us one important dimension. The crown of thorns is welded into the brow of the man of sorrows. A commanding compassion and a brooding lament remind us of Jesus’s Jerusalem finale. Days earlier, that compassion for the people disenfranchised by the temple coalition had taken him through the Jerusalem streets, then to the stalls and the open “classrooms” of the temple. From there revolutionary education and its graduates would have to carry on the “salvation enterprise”. The leader knows where to start and when to stop and hand over.

The revolution is handed to us.