Walter A. Rodney: A Promise of Revolution

Walter A. Rodney: A Promise of Revolution

Walter A. Rodney: A Promise of Revolution

Walter A. Rodney: A Promise of Revolution

Synopsis

The life of the great Guyanese scholar and revolutionary Walter Rodney burned with a rare intensity. The son of working class parents, Rodney showed great academic promise and was awarded scholarships to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and the School of African and Oriental Studies in London. He received his PhD from the latter at the age of twenty-four, and his thesis was published as A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, now a classic of African history. His most famous work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, is a mainstay of radical literature and anticipated the influential world systems theory of Immanuel Wallerstein. Not content merely to study the world, Rodney turned to revolutionary politics in Jamaica, Tanzania, and in Guyana. In his homeland, he helped form the Working People's Alliance (WPA) and was a consistent voice for the oppressed and exploited. As Rodney became more popular , the threat of his revolutionary message stirred fears among the powerful in Guyana and throughout the Caribbean, and he was assassinated in 1980. This book presents a moving and insightful portrait of Rodney through by the words of academics, writers, artists, and political activists who knew him intimately or felt his influence. These informal recollections and reflections demonstrate why Rodney is such a widely admired figure throughout the world, especially in poor countries and among oppressed peoples everywhere.

Excerpt

This book began as a series of interviews for a long overdue documentary film on renowned historian and activist, Dr. Walter Rodney. the documentary, W.A.R. Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney, was completed in 2009. Moving images of film and video come with some inherent limitations, however, and so the participants’ spoken words have evolved into a book, in order to add some depth and width to the subject. the intent is to make the oral history part of the formal history.

The oral tradition remains the most popular way of sharing information, and the digital camera makes possible that which we always wanted: making stories and images travel together, and relatively cheaply as well. the words and images given to the project had to be sliced and diced in the interest of the “story.” the documentary’s editors and I took pieces of statements and put them in a context that we hope maintains their integrity.

Although this book aims to present the original context of the paticipants’ statements, the reproduction of spoken words will by definition be different. Transcribed interviews miss the inflection and poetic nuance of the spoken answer. Yet power and beauty exist in the word itself. When you read this book, see it as an opportunity to add your own nuance, your own inflection, power, and beauty.

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