Walter Rodney's Legacy
Chaitram Aklu reviews Leo Zeilig’s biography of the Afro-Guyanese Marxist Dr Walter Rodney: A Revolutionary for Our Time: The Walter Rodney Story. He argues that Zeilig’s extensive research, drawn from primary sources, provides a brilliant insight into the life and work of Rodney. Aklu also shares his own short eyewitness account of events surrounding Rodney’s tragic assassination in the opening sentences.
In 1963 Walter Rodney moved to London. He had received a scholarship to undertake a PhD in the UK. In the UK, Rodney confronted racism, a sectarian left and studied Marxism alongside CLR James. In the second part of his biography, A Rebel’s Guide to Walter Rodney, Chinedu Chukwudinma explores the development of Rodney’s politics in London.
This year is the 80th anniversary of the birth of the Guyanese revolutionary Walter Rodney. We are serialising over nine weeks ROAPE’s Chinedu Chukwudinma’s full study of Rodney’s life A Rebel’s Guide to Walter Rodney. In the first part of Chukwudinma’s study, he explains that Rodney was a Marxist of impressive originality, he then looks at the first years of Rodney’s life in Guyana before he moved to Jamaica to continue his studies.
In her final blog in the series Lee Wengraf celebrates the life and work of Walter Rodney, the scholar, working class militant and revolutionary from Guyana who was murdered 37 years ago. His book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa remains a classic that must be carefully studied by activists and scholars today.
ROAPE’s Chinedu Chukwudinma speaks to Anne Braithwaite about Walter Rodney’s assassination, and the activism of the Working People’s Alliance-Support Group in the UK. As a founding member of the group, Braithwaite explains that though Rodney was betrayed, then assassinated, his body destroyed and concerted efforts made to tarnish his record, people around the world continue to develop and build on his immense legacy.
When Guyanese Revolutionary Walter Rodney returned to Guyana in the mid-1970s, he joined a socialist organisation called the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) to fight against Fordes Burnham’s dictatorship. Anne Braithwaite speaks to ROAPE’s Chinedu Chukwudinma about her experience as a founding member of the WPA's Support Group in the UK ahead of the 41st anniversary of Walter Rodney’s assassination.
In 1972 Walter Rodney published his masterpiece How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Rodney’s book took a similar approach to Eduardo Galeano’s 1971 classic, examining four hundred years of European intervention and occupation in Africa. In this blogpost, Leo Zeilig looks at the context and approach Rodney took in his 1972 book.
In 1971 and 1972 two of the most important books of the 20th century were published – volumes that have made an enormous difference to scholarship and activism. In 1971 the Uruguayan journalist and writer, Eduardo Galeano, published, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. The book has sold over a million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages. The following year Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa was published. Rodney’s book took a similar approach, examining the history of slavery and colonialism across Africa. Like Galeano, he examined how a continent was driven back – ‘underdeveloped’ – by European occupation and economic control. In this blogpost, Brian M. Napoletano, Héctor Ignacio Martínez Alvarez and Pedro S. Urquijo look again at Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America – next week we will be examining the context and content of Rodney’s 1972 masterpiece.
Walter Rodney’s influence on radical political economy and history, on subjects that continue to be of central importance to the Review of African Political Economy, is immense. To mark the continued vibrancy of his ideas and work, roape.net is hosting an on-going debate on Walter Rodney’s legacy.
In a robust defence of Walter Rodney’s work, Walter Daum argues that we must recognise and celebrate Rodney’s commitment to working-class internationalism. Rodney did not regard workers in the North as ‘natural allies’ of their own exploiters. Daum explains how Rodney’s argument that African (and by extension Southern) workers were more exploited applies all the more to the world we now live in today
In the week that marks the fortieth anniversary of the murder of the revolutionary Walter Rodney, Jesse Benjamin – member of the Walter Rodney Foundation - speaks to ROAPE’s Leo Zeilig about Rodney’s astonishing work, life and activism and how he continues speaks to the dehumanization of Black lives everywhere. Rodney’s work, Benjamin argues, remains vital for those now seeking to overturn the systems of oppression worldwide.