The forerunner of WPJ was the Workers Liberation League.
WPJ was an ally of the People's National Party. With WPJ backing the PNP government developed closer relations to Cuba, which irritated the United States. Ahead of the 1980 elections the U.S. had pushed through a destabilization campaign. The elections resulted in a victory of the rightist Jamaica Labour Party. After the elections there was an upsurge of violence in the inner city areas of Arnett Gardens and Greenwich Town districts. The violence ended after an appeal from the PNP leader.