Politics and the Guyana Middle Class – By Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

The middle class, which supported the PPP in 1950 and was heavily represented in its leadership, began to divide on the basis of the ethno-political developments after 1955. This division and consolidation matured only in the early 1960s.

During this process Burnham saw the importance of the middle class, particularly the African middle class. He courted the United Democratic Party, which was the political expression of the League of Coloured People and eventually merged with it. According to some critics of the PPP, Jagan signaled the need for a similar outreach in his 1954 Congress speech.

If this is so then it is evidence that both leaders saw the importance of capturing the support of the middle class, or rather, that section of the middle class which they expected to be sympathetic.

These leaders were not mistaken as to the importance of support by the middle class. The African middle class, mainly concentrated in the bureaucracy, played an important role in giving institutional support and strength to the PNC’s campaign to remove the PPP government between 1962 and 1964, itself led by middle class militants. Similarly the Indian middle class, in the small business sector and some sections of the bureaucracy such as the teaching profession, remained grudgingly and sometimes fearfully, loyal to the PPP. [Read more]

 

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