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Remembering Walter Rodney

posted 14 Jun 2013, 10:08 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 14 Jun 2013, 10:10 ]
On June 13, 1980, Walter Rodney
a preeminent historian, scholar, and revolutionary activist was
assassinated by the Forbes Burnham regime in Guyana.

Rodney’s murder had a great impact on the June 19th celebrations of that year because it took place just six days before June 19th and Walter had been the feature speaker at the Fyzabad celebrations the previous year before the largest crowd that had assembled up to that time for the celebrations. The gathered thousands mourned for Rodney. The Caribbean was in ferment: the Grenadian revolutionary seizure of power having taken place in March 1979. 

Born in a working class family in 1942, Rodney never forgot his working-class roots but worked tirelessly among the working class in Guyana, the Caribbean, and Africa as evidenced by his work Grounding with my Brothers. 

Moreover, his dedication to the working class was shown with the publication of A History of the Guyanese Working Class, 1881-1905. Furthermore, he educated the international working class with his seminal work on How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. 

Not content with being an armchair intellectual, Rodney put his theory into practice and helped in the creation of the Working People’s Alliance, a working class organisation which had the objective of uniting the African and Indian working class in Guyana.
On June 19th all roads will lead to Fyzabad. As the Labour movement makes this historical pilgrimage, let us remember Walter Rodney: by returning to the communities and ground with the unemployed, the marginalised, the oppressed, the dispossessed, the non-unionised, the under-employed, and the forgotten. (Dr. Godfrey Vincent)