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posted 29 Aug 2012, 22:19 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 29 Aug 2012, 22:38 ]
Bukka Rennie
Despite the loss of electricity at NALIS, the launch/relaunch of Bukka Rennie’s History of the Working Class of Trinidad and Tobago in the 20th Century (1919-1956) took place on the Abercromby Street apron of the National Library and went off splendidly.

The book launch was organised by the Blue Edition bookstore of Rawle and Patricia Gibbons. Rawle chaired the proceedings and stressed the significance of the republication of Rennie’s work after almost forty years by Majority Press. David Millette, a close colleague of Bukka, traced Bukka’s development over the years and spoke of their collaboration on several projects.

Fred Mitchell, the Mighty Composer, did an acapella version of his classic kaiso Worker’s Lament and Efebo Wilkinson did what was slated to be a book review, but which placed Bukka’s work within the context of the progressive movement of the early seventies and gave a fascinating account of how the book came to be written. Wilkinson regaled the audience with anecdotes which were at the same time instructive and amusing.

The author examined the relationship between the struggle to transform the society and the need to understand the genesis and historical unfolding of the mass movement. He mounted a powerful argument against the downplaying of history in the education system at both the secondary and tertiary levels.

He examined the work of the New Beginning Movement without which the book would have never seen the light of day and placed it in the post-1970 context within which several revolutionary tendencies and organisations sprung up to push the movement forward .

The re-publication of this important book is testimony to how well it has stood the test of time. When it was first published in 1974, it quickly became required reading for the post-1970 young and not so young activists, being one of the few documents available that traced our history from our perspective.

It should become required reading for young trade unionists and progressive activists as it was a generation ago.
History of the Working Class of Trinidad and Tobago in the 20th Century (1919-1956) is available at the Blue Edition bookstore 32 St. Vincent Street, Tunapuna; telephone number 223-6921 and 365- 0219.