Wednesday, April 11, 2007

“Intellectual Murder”: Walter Rodney’s Groundings in the context of the Jamaica of the 1960s.

“Intellectual Murder”: Walter Rodney’s Groundings in the context of the Jamaica of the 1960s.

F.S.J. Ledgister

Department of Political Science

Clark Atlanta University

How many on our flesh have fattened!
But if the noisome birds of prey
Shall vanish from the sky some morning
The blessed sunlight then will stay.

(Eugene Pottier, L’Internationale)


Walter Rodney became a public figure – as distinguished from someone well known in academic or radical circles – as a result of his being made persona non grata by the government of Jamaica in 1968. To understand that exclusion, we have to look at Rodney in the context of the Jamaica of the 1960s. This means we have to reexamine The Groundings with my Brothers, which contains Rodney’s lectures to slum-dwellers that so alarmed the government of prim minister Hugh Shearer. We also have to consider what kind of country Jamaica was at the time, and what the attitude of Jamaica’s government was to academic freedom.

Jamaica became independent on 6 August, 1962. That did not mean that it instantly shed its colonial past. “The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the minds of the living,” wrote Marx.[1] This is even more the case when those generations are not in fact dead.

No impassable barrier separates colonial Jamaica from post-colonial Jamaica. Indeed, Jamaica became independent with a state structure that combined authoritarian and democratic elements;[2] the former the result of long colonial rule, the latter the result of processes of decolonization that began in the 1940s.

Early independent Jamaica was a continuation of what it had been under late colonial rule with one substantial difference – apart from the fact that the governor no longer exercised a power of veto over the elected government – that until independence the local authorities were subject to the British and after independence paid close attention to the wishes of the United States.[3] A two-party system, the conservative Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) facing the social-democratic People’s National Party (PNP), had been established over the course of the 1940s and 1950s, and local politicians had, in stages, taken over responsibility for local affairs from the Colonial Office between 1944, when universal adult suffrage was introduced, and independence in 1962.

The JLP government, which came to office shortly before independence and was to remain in power for the first decade of independent Jamaica, was sensitive both to the concerns of the United States government and to social pressures which manifested themselves in the emergence of the Rastafari movement and in such events as the anti-Chinese riots of 1965.[4] Foreign investment (particularly in bauxite and sugar), tourism, and the continued existence of ethno-racial minorities (particularly since some of them controlled much of the wealth of the island), were central concerns to the JLP prime ministers, Sir Alexander Bustamante, Sir Donald Sangster, and Hugh Shearer, as they presided over the government. They had been central concerns of the pre-independence PNP administration of Norman Manley.[5]

The island’s social structure, in the years following the achievement of independence, showed little change from the years preceding. The upper class continued to be dominated by whites, with a few Chinese and brown (mixed race) Jamaicans on its fringes, the middle class was made up mostly, but by no means entirely, of brown Jamaicans, and the lower classes, urban and rural, were overwhelmingly black. Habits of deference, and habits of dominance, developed over the three centuries of British rule, and the long period of plantation slavery during that rule, were still ingrained in parts of the population.[6]

Others, however, had developed and refined forms of resistance to racial and class oppression, of which the most significant was Rastafarianism[7]. And that drew, in its turn, from the black nationalism of Marcus Garvey, perhaps the most important political figure to emerge in late colonial Jamaica, given the impact of Garveyism on Africans and peoples of African origin outside that continent. That resistance constituted a counternarrative to the official account of Jamaica’s movement from colonial rule to independence.

The Setting: Jamaica in the 1960s

An observer of Jamaica in the 1960s would have noticed few substantial differences from the preceding period. Already, in the 1950s, Jamaican personnel had taken over the bureaucracy, and all of the government except for the office of governor. Business continued to be dominated by white Creole Jamaicans and members of the Levantine Arab and Chinese minorities.[8] Social mobility had begun to accelerate following the introduction of the eleven-plus examination for entry into secondary schools in 1958. The founding of the University in 1948 marked the beginning both of real research into the life of the island (and the wider West Indies) and real opportunity for higher education to an expanded segment of the population.

The growth of the middle class, as tourism, the bauxite mining industry, and import substitution industrialization expanded the island’s economy, and access to middle-class employment through education, were outcomes of a political transformation that had begun with the labour rebellion of 1938 which had produced, over a decade and a half, two political parties that competed for popular support and two large trade unions that connected those parties to the rural and urban working classes.[9]

Jamaica’s political life settled into a pattern of encouragement of development by a state that sought to promote the welfare of the community at large, coupled with the use of patronage to sustain support from large segments of the island’s population.[10] The two parties, the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party, the roots of which lay in the worker uprising of 1938, divided the lower classes, in particular the urban lower classes, into rival ‘tribes’, the term current in Jamaica, that sought advantage through their support of the individual parties. These, though formally different ideologically had converged by the mid-1950s becoming ‘cross-class, catch-all vote-getting machines’.[11]

The emergent middle class, for all that its members were mostly the children of peasants, yeomen and workers, looked upon the lower classes with a mixture of pride, scorn, and fear. Middle class Jamaicans, especially brown (mixed race) people, were quick to apply racial explanations for poverty, or to blame habits of African origin or remnants of African culture for the ‘backwardness’ of much of the population.[12] Yet, while the middle class had gained, and grown, in the 1950s and 1960s, ‘much larger sections of the people’ had been marginalized and faced increased suffering.[13]

We might say that to middle class status anxiety was allied a racial fear, a fear of being mistaken for the uneducated, backward African rather than seen as educated citizens of a modern nation and participants in Western civilization.[14]

At the same time, the government of the newly-independent nation had its own anxieties. One had to do with the burgeoning urban slums and how they ought to be controlled. Another had to do with Jamaica’s security in the world; this was seen as dependent on a close alliance with the United States and commitment to Western goals. ‘I am with the West’, declared Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante at independence, offering the United States the chance to establish military bases in Jamaica.[15] While the United States failed to take Bustamante’s offer up, the Hurwitzes note that

The loan agreements and the economic and technical aid given by the United States, Great Britain and Canada seemed sufficient proof that amicable relations with these powers would take care of Jamaica’s needs. During these years, Jamaica’s foreign policy jelled in this traditional mold.[16]

This policy of continuity faced challenges. The PNP did not constitute a major challenge, of course, during most of the 1960s, but significant challenges to the continuation of the late colonial order were made on racial grounds.

Before independence, a black preacher, Claudius Henry, played a role as ‘a leading militant’ demanding that black Jamaicans be repatriated to Africa. Calling himself the ‘Repairer of the Breach’, Henry created the African Reformed Church at the end of 1958. This church, which drew its members from the lower classes of Kingston, advocated an ‘unapologetic, militant anti-colonialism’ in the ideological language of Rastafari.[17] Henry advocated rejecting the calls for self-government of the two parties, instead demanding repatriation to Africa.[18] Unsurprisingly, his church was a regular target of police raids, one of which, in April 1960, uncovered a cache of weapons. Henry and others were charged with treason felony (Henry served a sentence for this). His sons attempted a revolt that June and this was suppressed by the police and the British garrison.[19]

In the 1962 elections, shortly before independence, the People’s Political Party, led by Millard Johnson, a brown barrister whose racial consciousness was developed during his education in Britain – and reviving the name and outlook of a party founded by Marcus Garvey in 1930 – was, as Gannon notes, ‘the only Jamaican political party ever to run a slate of candidates on a racial platform’.[20] To Gannon, the PPP’s defeat in the elections (it picked up only 2.24 percent of the vote in the 16 constituencies, out of 45, that it contested) was an ‘apparent rejection of black nationalist ideology’ by an electorate that, in spite of being overwhelmingly black and lower class, gave greater importance to economic than racial or cultural issues, and for whom class differences were of more direct relevance than racial differences.[21] Even so, ‘PPP support was concentrated in the urban lower classes where black skin and material dispossession were perfectly correlated’.[22]

Nevertheless, the poorest, blackest constituency in Kingston, West Kingston, was won in 1962 (and was represented until 2005) by a white man, Edward Seaga, from the Levantine Arab minority[23]. This was in spite of the fact that his three opponents, Byron Moore of the PPP, Ras Sam Brown, a Rastafari movement activist and artist who was an independent candidate, and Dudley Thompson of the PNP, all used racial or Africanist appeals in their campaigns.[24] As Gannon summarises it, the results ‘in this constituency, revealed that a racial ideology without an explicit economic framework had limited political potential in Jamaica.’[25] Seaga was able, among other things, to communicate effectively with his constituents because of his knowledge of and connection to Revival cults, popular among the urban poor, and his ownership of a recording company that produced popular Jamaican music.[26]

Ras Sam Brown was seen by some in the early 1960s as a significant representative of the Rastafarian movement. George Mikes, who interviewed him in 1966, giving him the transparent pseudonym of ‘Jack Smith’, quotes him as saying ‘There is no solution other than bloodshed. I don’t welcome it. I regret it. But there is no way out. It is inevitable. The white man will have to pay with his life for the crimes he has committed.’[27] While Mikes considered Brown ‘a sham and a ham’ and ‘a snob and an upstart’ – in part because he demanded money for being interviewed, in part because he had become a kind of tame revolutionary pet providing a delightful frisson of horror for the Jamaican rich – it cannot be doubted that he articulated a real feeling among the urban poor of Kingston and that the Rastafari movement symbolized that feeling.[28]

The two-party system, however, was the main means of mobilizing the lower classes. In the mid-1960s, an increase in political violence (led, to a large extent, by Edward Seaga’s efforts to consolidate control of his constituency) obliged the government to impose a state of emergency in West Kingston in 1966.[29] The JLP’s victory in 1967 might have seemed to indicate that the government was on the right course, in spite of some rumblings among the poor in different parts of the island.

After the Henry incident of 1960, there had been a conflict between six Rastas and the police at Coral Gardens near Montego Bay in 1963 after the Rastas attacked a filling station there. In 1965, when a black employee at a Chinese-owned store in downtown Kingston claimed to have been beaten by her employers, anti-Chinese rioting broke out along the Spanish Town Road in west Kingston.[30]

Even though the rumblings among lower class Jamaicans involved issues of race, both parties used appeals to class in their 1967 campaigns: the JLP presented itself as the party of the small man while the PNP emphasized the JLP’s increasing orientation to the wealthy.[31] References to race were rare in that election campaign, and multiracialism and racial harmony were depicted as the norm.[32]

Beneath the surface, however things were different. It was perhaps in recognition of the need to acknowledge Jamaica’s racial reality that Edward Seaga, as the minister with responsibility for culture,[33] ensured the repatriation of the remains of Marcus Garvey and their entombment in a monument to the father of black nationalism in 1965; in that same year, the centenary of the Morant Bay Rebellion was commemorated by the proclamation that Paul Bogle and George William Gordon were henceforth to be National Heroes.[34]

The state visit of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie in 1966 can be seen as part of the same process. However, even though it was an official occasion, and Haile Selassie was present as a guest of the government, the visit was, because of its significance to the Rastafari community, a ‘catalysing’ event for lower-class black Jamaicans.[35]

The government gave with one hand and withheld with the other. While Garvey was celebrated, contemporary black nationalists were not. The works of Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad and H. Rap Brown were all banned.[36] So were publications of the Cuban, Soviet and Chinese governments, seen as promoting communism, and the novel The Children of Sisyphus by the Jamaican sociologist H. Orlando Patterson which contains a depiction of Bustamante (‘Montesaviour’ in the novel) as a two-faced liar as well as detailed descriptions of life for the urban poor, particularly residents of the ‘Dungle’.[37]

In addition, the government kept a wary eye on lecturers at the University of the West Indies. Foreigners working at that institution whose views the government found distasteful had their work permits revoked. These included West Indian scholars, such as the Guyanese Harold and Kathleen Drayton and Clive Y. Thomas,[38] and Marxist academics from outside the region such as Bertell Ollman,[39] Jay Mandle,[40] and Ken Post. Jamaican scholars and activists distrusted by government had their passports taken away.[41] This, nevertheless, did not stop the circulation of ideas disliked by the government; it merely drove them underground.

Walter Rodney’s arrival at the UWI in 1968 to teach African history was in itself an indication that interest in Africa was growing.[42] Rodney’s activities, in addition to his regular teaching became a source of alarm to the government. Rodney gave public lectures on African history and related subjects, such as imperialism at the university, at the university’s extra mural centre, and at other locations in Kingston

I would go further down into West Kingston and I would speak wherever there was a possibility of our getting together. It might be in a sports club, it might be in a schoolroom, it might be in a church, it might be in a gully. (Those of you who come from Jamaica know those gully corners.) They are dark, dismal places with a black population who have had to seek refuge there. You will have to go there if you want to talk to them. I have spoken in what people call ‘dungle’, rubbish dumps, for that is where people live in Jamaica. People live in rubbish dumps.[43].

It was these lectures that caused the government to refuse him reentry into the island when he returned from the Congress of Black Writers in Montreal in October 1968. Prime Minister Hugh Shearer told Parliament that Rodney had ‘openly declared his belief that as Jamaica was predominantly a black country, all brown-skinned, mulatto people and their assets should be destroyed.’[44] While Gannon sees this as Shearer’s ’exaggerating the significance of political rhetoric’, there is no evidence that Rodney said anything like this.[45] Rupert Lewis cites a Special Branch officer who said that Rodney was banned because he ‘was charismatic at the grassroots level and had a following among intellectuals.’[46]

Rodney’s self-presentation, Lewis states, was that of ‘a 1960s black radical though unexaggeratedly so’ while his wife, Pat, ‘wore a low haircut and dressed in African print wraps’.[47] He was determined to avoid the isolation of the university and what he saw as the philistinism of many of his colleagues by living off campus and connecting himself directly to ordinary Jamaicans.[48]

The Groundings

Rodney’s public lectures in Jamaica, and statements made at the Black Writers Congress, are contained in The Groundings with my Brothers, a slim book that represents Rodney’s primary contribution to Caribbean activist thought prior to his return to Guyana in 1974. The heart of the work is focused on two subjects: black power and African history.

Rodney defines blackness as central to the experience of black people: ‘I’m putting it to my black brothers and sisters that the colour of our skins is the most fundamental thing about us’. This is not an idea, merely an acceptance of reality, a reality imposed by the white world which ‘defines who is white and who is black’.[49] Whites define those who are not white as black; thus black people are those ‘hundreds of millions whose homelands are in Asia and Africa, with another few millions in the Americas’ with persons of African descent in a position ‘clearly more acute than that of most non-white groups.’[50]

White racial domination is a product of white imperialism, thus ‘the Russians are white and have power but they are not a colonial power oppressing black peoples’.[51]

Imperialism continues even after the achievement of independence, ‘but a black man ruling a dependent State within the imperialist system has no power. He is simply an agent of the whites in the metropolis, with an army and a police force designed to maintain the imperialist way of things in that particular colonial area’.[52]

At the same time, whiteness is associated with wealth and blackness with poverty as a result of the ‘imperialist relationship’ which ‘makes the whites richer and the blacks poorer’. This is an exercise of ‘white power’ which has held blacks down and kept them impoverished both relatively and absolutely.[53]


Conscious blacks cannot possibly fail to realise that in our own homelands we have no power, abroad we are discriminated against, and everywhere the black masses suffer from poverty. You can put together in your own mind a picture of the whole world, with the white imperialist beast crouched over miserable blacks. And don’t forget to label us poor. There is nothing with which poverty coincides so absolutely as with the colour black – small or large population, hot or cold climates, rich or poor in natural resources – poverty cuts across all of these factors in order to find black people.[54]

Black power, as it has emerged in the United States, Rodney goes on to argue, ‘is a rejection of hopelessness and the policy of doing nothing to halt the oppression of blacks by whites.’[55] He traces its origins to Garvey, and points out that Garvey saw the struggle as an international one, and all black power advocates since have done so. The only new thing about black power, apart from the name, is the advocacy of violence. But violence, says Rodney, echoing Fanon and citing Carmichael and Hamilton’s Black Power, is inescapably and unceasingly directed by whites against blacks.[56] Black American’s ‘limited violence’ has meant that their demands are being noticed.[57]

For blacks in the West Indies, the existence of black power as an ideology of resistance to white domination requires a choice:

Now we need to be specific in defining the West Indian scene and our own particular roles in the society. You and I have to decide whether we want to think black or to remain as a dirty version of white.[58]

Capitalists established slavery in the West Indies, and continued the exploitation of labour in the region after emancipation through the use of imported Indian indentured workers. The British prevented free blacks from gaining political power by imposing the crown colony system in Jamaica and other territories after 1865.[59]

The labour revolts of the 1930s surprised the British, and the Royal Commission that investigated them produced a ‘report of the conditions [that] was so shocking that the British government did not release it until after the war, because they wanted black colonials to fight the white man’s battles.’[60]

After the war, concessions had to be made to ‘certain groups in colonial society’ in order to prevent social upheaval and maintain the basic structure of imperial control as well as the concerns of the United States in the West Indies.[61]

In response to continued imperial control exercised through ‘a white, brown and black petty-bourgeoisie who were culturally the creations of white capitalist society’ black power had to break with imperialism, secure the control of power by the black masses, and reconstruct West Indian society ‘in the image of the blacks’.[62] By black, Rodney goes on to say, he means the mass of the population, ‘either African or Indian’.[63]

The Chinese, mulattoes, and ‘so-called West Indian whites’ have to either relinquish the role of exploiters or be deprived of it ‘before they can be re-integrated into a West Indian society where the black man walks with dignity.’[64] This is a choice for these groups to make themselves as black power ‘is not racially intolerant’ and ‘is not incompatible with a multi-racial society where each individual counts equally’.[65]

That, however, would require the equitable distribution of power. The image of a multiracial society projected by the government of the day, however, was nothing more than ‘a myth designed to justify the exploitation suffered by the blackest of our population, at the hands of the lighter-skinned groups.’[66]

Rodney concurs with Stokely Carmichael’s calling Fidel Castro ‘one of the blackest men in the Americas’, because white power is white imperialism, and the Cuban Revolution in rejecting the latter had also rejected the former:

Black Cubans fought alongside white Cuban workers and peasants because they were all oppressed. Major Juan Almeida, one of the outstanding leaders of Cuba today, was one of the original guerrillas in the Sierra Maestra, and he is black. Black Cubans today enjoy political, economic and social rights and opportunities of exactly the same kind as white Cubans. They too bear arms in the Cuban Militia as an expression of their basic rights. In other words, White Power in Cuba is ended. The majority of the white population naturally predominates numerically in most spheres of activity but they do not hold dominion over blacks without regard to the latter’s interests.[67]

That being so, black Cubans ‘can in fact afford to forget the category “black”. In Jamaica, where there are no oppressed whites, it would be blacks alone who would bear the brunt of revolutionary fighting.[68]

Educated black West Indians, including students and teachers at the university had to make a choice. Did they want to continue as agents of the white power system, or did they want to overcome the cultural inferiority that had resulted in black West Indians ‘thinking white’.[69] Blacks had to overcome the assumption that white standards of beauty and white symbols of value were normative. The acceptance of white values has distorted how the masses – African and Indian – see themselves and each other, and black power had to begin ‘with a revaluation of ourselves as blacks and with a redefinition of the world from our own standpoint.’[70]

To this end, Rodney delivered a series of nine public lectures on African history.[71] He states the purpose of these as to counter the deliberate hiding and distortion of African history in and by the West which has produced the result that ‘our knowledge of Africa is got from reading Tarzan comic books.’[72] Knowledge of African achievements, Rodney believed could build the self-confidence of black people.[73]

Rodney’s examination of African history involved an explicit rejection of racism, defining it as a tool of white exploitation.[74] His assertion on the subject, as well as his view on how Western technology ought to be appropriated, as presented in the summary of the fourth lecture, is worth quoting at length:

As Africans, we will use the question of race to unify ourselves, and to escape from the oppression at the hands of white men and their black lackeys. So long as there are people who deny our humanity as blacks, then for so long must we proclaim and assert our humanity as blacks. That is why our historical and cultural heritage is so important, and that is why we must proceed to live our culture because culture is a way of life. We must recover what was taken away from us and we must adapt in order to survive and keep on growing as a section of humanity.

Here it is very important to notice the question of technology. Europeans accuse black people of not inventing the wheel. They claim that our culture never included the construction of machines which work on the principle of the wheel – e.g., mills and wheeled transport. This is partly true, but all that can be said is that we never borrowed the principle of the wheel, for it was invented in China and borrowed by the Europeans[75]. Where our history and culture lack certain things there is nothing wrong in borrowing. His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor Haile Selassie, was the first African to realise the importance of the European invention of aircraft, and sought aeroplanes, not to be like Europeans but to protect Ethiopian culture by strengthening it with something new. Africans (especially youths) must learn new skills[76].

Rodney was to make it clear, in addressing the Congress of Black Writers in Montreal in October 1968, that African history had to be placed at the service of black revolution.[77] The humanity of blacks, he asserted could only be proved ‘by revolutionary means’; the Cuban revolution being an example of what was possible.[78] African history needed to be taught, not merely with a focus on the major historic states and their elites but with attention to ‘the elements of African everyday life’ and with appreciation of all African culture. The purpose was to show that Africa’s past had meaning and that ‘the black man in the Americas’ could identify proudly with it.[79]

Anticipating his major work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Rodney asserts that ‘stagnation in the “Third World” was causally related to advance in Western Europe, and that blacks needed to reject European ‘cultural egocentricity’ that defined the world in terms of one European achievement, the ability to organize large states and mobilize their populations.[80]

Against this, African values such as hospitality should be praised. Africa and Europe, Rodney contends, were moving in different directions in the early modern period and Africa had avoided the class antagonisms that characterized the development of capitalism in Europe.[81] Knowledge of the African past, for its part, would, by expunging Western myths about Africa’s lack of history perform a ‘revolutionary function’ for blacks in the Americas.[82]

Rodney’s assessment of the Jamaican situation at that conference was that ‘a new phase is beginning in the epochal march forward of the Black Humanity of Jamaica’.[83] Jamaica’s government had been forced to accept the collapse of the ‘myth of a harmonious, multi-racial society’ and had engaged in ‘a crude manipulation of the symbols of national black pride’ by acknowledging Marcus Garvey and Paul Bogle as national heroes.[84]

Condemning the prohibition of the ‘liberation literature of Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X and Elijah Mohammed’ he noted that the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ was increasing and the repressive power of the state was being used to control the latter.[85] Interestingly, his first example of that increasing repression was that ‘the number of charges imposed on black people for the possession of ganja (marijuana) are astronomical’. He went on, though, to point out that a charge of ‘suspicion’ had been made law and that this was used ‘in much the same way’ as the vagrancy laws to control poor black people.[86]

Jamaica’s police had demonstrated that they were even more ferocious in their hostility to poor black people than the New York Police Department, and the government had urged it to greater efforts.[87] Yet that same government had faced a strike of the police force for higher wages which was, Rodney believed, ‘a part of the breakdown of the system of oppression’. That system could not even guarantee the middle class basic services and security.[88]

The issue of race was openly discussed, despite government efforts to sweep it under the rug, and even though they had been employed by the two parties to wage violence on each other, black youths were ‘becoming aware of the possibilities of unleashing armed struggle in their own interests.’[89]

A few days later, Rodney was to comment on one aspect of that struggle, his exclusion from Jamaica and the protests which followed. That ban was the act of a ‘white-hearted’ government which used a false multiracialism to cover up the fact that racial oppression of black Jamaicans continued.[90]

Educated black West Indians were sucked into the establishment; intellectuals were given economic security in exchange for their souls. To break from this ‘Babylonian Captivity’, the black West Indian academic had to attack the distortions of black history promoted by imperialism, to challenge the ‘social myth’ of multiracial harmony, and to ‘attach himself to the activity of the black masses’.[91]

He had spoken about black power on the university campus and off it: ‘I was prepared to go anywhere that any group of Black people were prepared to sit down to talk and listen’. That was the very definition of black power – black people coming together to discuss and think through their situation.[92] He had spoken at the UWI Extra Mural Centre, at sports clubs, schoolrooms, church halls, and in gully corners, wherever people would gather to discuss their lives and history, with people whom prime minister Shearer had dismissed as ‘criminals and hooligans’.[93]

The student protest, at one of ‘the most bourgeois of universities’, was an act unprecedented in the history of that institution.[94] It would not have occurred in his days as an undergraduate. Beyond that, the ‘Black Brothers’ in Kingston had moved against the government in what Rodney saw as the beginning of ‘their indictment against the Government of Jamaica.’[95] That government, he stressed, did not have the moral authority to condemn him.[96]


On 15 October, 1968, returning from Montreal, Rodney was not allowed to disembark in Kingston and was forced to return to Montreal.[97] Rodney’s banning from Jamaica resulted in student protest in the form of a march of about 900 students to the prime minister’s residence on 16 October, 1968.[98] The students were tear-gassed there, but made their way downtown to the parliament building, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Prime Minister’s Office, where they were again attacked by police. In the interim, poor Kingstonians joined in the protest and engaged in a riot which, while alarming, was confined only to part of Kingston and which lasted three days.[99] In spite of this, the university was besieged by the police for a week.[100]

The Jamaican parliament debated the protests on 17 October. Before they could do that, an opposition Member of Parliament, Maxwell Carey, from southeastern Westmoreland seized the mace and cried out ‘This is intellectual murder!’ before being escorted from the parliamentary chamber.[101] In the debate that followed, Prime Minister Shearer stated that Rodney ‘openly declared his belief that as Jamaica was predominantly a black country, all brown-skinned, mulatto people and their assets should be destroyed’.[102] Gray notes that ‘unable to find evidence of treason, the government eventually suggested that it barred Rodney for meeting “with Claudius Henry who was convicted in 1960 of Treason Felony” and having discussions involving the “condemnation of the democratic system of government of Jamaica.”’[103] Shearer’s speech, attacking Rodney and the university, particularly non-Jamaican university students and teachers, as the causes of the riot, played on anti-communist and anti-intellectual themes.[104] To this ‘emotional appeal’ the opposition PNP had no real answer; the leader of the opposition, Norman Manley, while calling the banning of Rodney ‘arbitrary’ did not seriously challenge it.[105]

A different position was taken by the spokespeople for Jamaican popular culture. Bob Marley and the Wailers, in ‘Fire, Fire’ noting that ‘Babylon’ was burning, sang

Fire, fire – They have no water…

Who you gonna run to? – Who you gonna run to?

Who you gonna run to? – They have no mercy.

Stand up and fight it – Stand up and fight it

Stand up and fight your fight

Till you give me freedom.[106]

One significant consequence of the protests was the establishment of new political organizations as the barriers between ‘the militant poor’ and the intelligentsia collapsed after the repressive power of the state had been directed against both simultaneously.[107] The immediate result was the establishment of the Abeng[108] collective, an organization which sought to continue Rodney’s work.[109] The group issued the first copy of its weekly paper Abeng in February, 1969. Abeng, which was distributed throughout the island and had a circulation of 20,000, sought to link popular culture to class struggle and black nationalism.[110] The paper lasted from February to October 1969, when the print shop where it was produced burned in a suspicious fire.[111]

After the fire, the collective dissolved and its members moved in a number of different directions: some went on to form Marxist-Leninist organizations such as the Workers’ Liberation League,[112] the Independent Trade Unions Advisory Council, and the Communist Party of Jamaica (all pro-Soviet), and also the Youth Forces for National Liberation (Maoist). Others went into the People’s National Party Youth Organisation or into the PNP itself under the leadership of Michael Manley, who had taken over from his father, Norman Manley, in February, 1969.[113]

The elections of 1972 were a watershed. As Waters puts it

Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, in contrast to the ‘racial harmony’ of the previous campaign [in 1967], was now saluting with clenched fists and threatening to ‘beat down Babylon’.[114]

Manley’s government was to unban previously forbidden writings,[115] and, in 1975, to remove the bans on Clive Thomas and Walter Rodney.[116] Jamaica underwent a significant cultural and political change in the period 1972-1980, and Rodney’s thought, openly available, played a significant role in the process.

Michael Manley’s commitment to democratic socialism involved an appropriation of Rastafari symbolism and expressions of solidarity with the suffering poor.[117] In the 1980s, the party sought to weld black nationalist and socialist appeals using a language of Third World Solidarity that echoes Rodney’s.[118]


What was the impact of Rodney’s intellectual activism? On the one hand, it is clear that he moved both academics and middle class youths to see themselves as organically connected to the black masses.[119] On the other hand, he presented African history and African identity to Jamaicans of all classes in a manner that connected that history to the conditions of life of black Jamaicans in the late 20th century. Obika Gray saw Rodney as having overcome the isolation of the intellectual ‘by fusing theory and practice’ and as having ‘served notice that the knowledge of the intellectual could and would be put at the service of the masses.’[120]

That Rodney’s historiography contained elements that were dubious (the invention of the wheel in China, the Soviets as non-oppressive whites,[121] Jesus as an Egyptian[122]) is not as much to the point as the fact that he presented African history as part of an overall project of promoting both pride in that history and revolutionary consciousness. Rodney’s vision of the role and concerns of black people in a world dominated by whites, however, is not without its problems. His description of World War II as a ‘white man’s war’, for example, is problematic as the war against Nazism was surely as much the battle of the black as of the white. Notwithstanding this, Rodney’s achievement was to tie two approaches to political resistance – cultural protest and anti-imperialism – into a single golden thread of political affirmation.

Rodney has been seen, by Caribbean scholars, in two ways, as a spokesman for black consciousness or as a Marxist (or Marxist-Leninist) revolutionary. Taking the former approach, Denis Benn, in his magisterial history of political thought in the Anglophone Caribbean, places him in the tradition of Marcus Garvey, who began, like Garvey, by seeing racial identity as the basis for political consciousness.[123]

Benn notes that Rodney had

succeeded in forging a link between a radical black consciousness ideology and the dispossessed elements within the society, drawn largely from among the Rastafari, and thus set the stage for the emergence of a short-lived, but effective, social movement which threatened to create a ‘revolutionary’ juncture within the society.[124]

Even though Rodney was ‘in the tradition of Garvey’ as a spokesman for a black identity, and like Garvey emphasized ‘race as the basis of political theory’, Benn notes, correctly, that Rodney was influenced by Fanon’s theory of revolution and an ‘orthodox Marxist class analysis and critique of imperialism’.[125] For Benn, Rodney’s work recasts Garveyism by adding the element of class. This made Rodney’s activism

the most important effort since Garvey to articulate a systematic doctrine of black consciousness specifically relevant to the needs of the Caribbean.[126]

The inclusion of class analysis ‘marked a break in the trajectory of the development of black consciousness.’[127]

Anthony Bogues, however, begins his examination of Rodney by taking note that Rodney considered himself a ‘black Marxist.’[128] For Bogues, Rodney was ‘a postcolonial revolutionary theorist following in the tradition of Frantz Fanon.’[129] This links him to a tradition of Caribbean political writing beginning with J.J. Thomas,[130] which used the tools of Western intellectual production to critique the ways in which Caribbean people were rendered invisible and dehumanized.[131] Rodney sought to ‘Caribbeanize Marxism’ and to develop ‘an alternative approach’ to leadership in a post-colonial context.[132]

Responding to criticisms that Marxism was one more European ideology, and thus unsuitable to the needs of black people, Rodney took the position that Marxism was an analytical tool that could be used with an understanding of the ‘internal realities of a given African society’.[133] Rodney’s analysis of post-colonial politics was not, however, orthodox Marxist. He sought, rather, to show how postcolonial elites in the Caribbean used ‘pseudo-socialism’ to promote a positive image abroad.[134]

Bogues notes that, ironically, one of the most serious critiques of Rodney’s approach came from the dean of Caribbean Marxism, C.L.R. James, who felt that Rodney did not wait (in the context of Guyana) for the ‘revolutionary people and the revolutionary class’ to be engaged in conflict with the government before raising the question of revolt. James also saw Rodney’s conception of political leadership as flawed because he had not seriously studied the question.[135]

Bogues sees Rodney, along with Fanon, as trying to find ‘forms of authentic liberation’, and sharing with Fanon an ethic of political engagement. Rodney, for Bogues, sought to ‘integrate the local dialect with the dialectic’ and in doing so forged a connection with the prophetic stream of black political radicalism.[136]

Another take on Caribbean Marxism, that of Silvio Torres-Saillant, places Rodney within a tradition of Caribbean political scholar-activists who

added to the region’s visibility through the vigorous embrace of a near orthodox Marxism of internationalist aspirations while they unabashedly upheld their identity as black Caribbeans.[137]

Rodney, on this view, belongs to a tradition that included Anton de Kom of Surinam; George Padmore and C.LR. James of Trinidad; Jacques Roumain, the Haitian writer; and the Martinican Fanon.[138] Noticeably absent from this list is Marcus Garvey.

Of these approaches, it is that of Bogues, which by foregrounding Rodney’s own self-identification with Marxism makes the most sense in understanding Rodney. Rodney’s achievement, seen in this light, is an assimilation of the ethnic and class struggles of black people in the Caribbean into a single struggle to affirm their worth as persons by taking power from the white and non-white agents of imperialism.

Even given his importance to black and Caribbean intellectual history, though, we have to note that Rodney’s political role has been largely elided in the social memory of Jamaica. As Ledgister and Waters have pointed out, the Rodney Riots are ‘silenced’ in the official record, and unofficial social memory is more focused on the riots than on Rodney as an individual.[139] He is remembered, we emphasise, by the age cohort that was in its intellectually formative years at the time of the riots, and by Caribbean public intellectuals who learned from him how to combine theory and practice and how to yoke pan-Africanism and Marxism together.[140]

That scholars examining Caribbean intellectual history or the history of black intellectual resistance to white racial domination continue to see Rodney as playing a role of great importance, however, indicates that what he had to say, and how he said it continues to be important.


Rodney’s Groundings is a work that, curiously, continues to matter in spite of a superficial datedness. It matters, I would say, not only to the audience for which it was intended, but for a wider audience seeking to understand the aspirations of colonized and racially oppressed peoples. Rodney’s exclusion from Jamaica, by a government fearful that he was bringing to the poor and dispossessed the news that they were poor and dispossessed, was indeed ‘intellectual murder’, but the victims of such murders have a habit of rising again.

Rodney brought to the Jamaica of the 1960s a black radical vision blended with a Marxist understanding of the world economic system. ‘Black power’ was, after all, a slogan that emerged from the struggles of black Americans,[141] but for Rodney it meant much more than demands for political recognition. The enemy is not ‘the white man’ but imperialism, and the answer is not black separatism but revolution.

Rodney’s thought and activism in 1968 remains relevant despite moments of naïveté – the uncritical approach Rodney takes in the Groundings to the Soviet Union comes to mind – and despite the fact that, with the end of the Cold War, it is shorn of part of its context; that is to say, the assumption that Marxism, or Marxism-Leninism could provide a viable alternative to the bourgeois state in the form of the state socialism that existed at that time.

Nonetheless, decades later, it continues to ring true. To be black is to be a locus of poverty and deprivation. It still means social and political exclusion in the Jamaica of the early 21st century to those born into urban or rural poverty. Kingston today, as much as it did in 1968, and, indeed, as much as it did in 1938, contains two separate societies: a middle class uncertain of its status but oriented towards Western values and practices, and a lower class united in poverty and resisting that poverty through an assertion of pride in blackness.

Yet Kingston is but one corner of a world in which blackness carries with it a stigma of poverty and ‘backwardness’. For some the poverty may not be as great, or may be non-existent, and black culture is more valued by the wider world and by the black bourgeoisie than it was four decades ago, yet poverty still cuts across all boundaries ‘to find black people’.[142]

While the collapse of the Soviet Union has, it seems, made the orthodox Marxist approach to solving the problems of poor, colonised, or neocolonised peoples unavailable, alternatives continue to exist. The Cuban Revolution may be facing difficulties, but southeast of Jamaica the Bolivarian Revolution of Hugo Chávez represents, yet again, the desire of the deprived, powerless, and dark-skinned, to achieve recognition of their humanity. Time, as the Jamaican proverb has it, langa dan rope.

[1] In the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. URL:

[2] Obika Gray, Radicalism and Social Change in Jamaica, 1960-1972; Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991, 1.

[3] Gray also notes that colonial laws continued to be used after independence against ‘groups and individuals thought to be subversive’ (Gray, 47).

[4] American concerns were driven by the exigencies of the US role in the Cold War. In the case of Jamaica, this meant fear of possible Cuban or other Communist influences.

[5] Gray, 38.

[6] John Charles Gannon “The Origins and Development of Jamaica’s Two-Party System, 1930-1975”; Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington University, St Louis, 1975, 257 fn 2.

[7] Rastafarianism is a much-studied religious and cultural phenomenon. Some of the most significant works on the subject are The Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica, by M.G. Smith, F.R. Augier, and R.M. Nettleford (Mona, Jamaica: Institute for Social and Economic Studies, 1960), Dread: The Rastafarians of Jamaica, by Joseph Owens (Kingston: Sangster’s Bookstores, 1976), The Rastafarians: The Dreadlocks of Jamaica, by Leonard Barrett (Kingston: Sangster’s Bookstores, 1977), Race, Class and Political Symbols: Rastafari and Reggae in Jamaican Politics, by Anita M. Waters (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1984), and Rasta and Resistance: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney, by Horace Campbell (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1987)

[8] Waters, 29. Anthony J. Payne, Politics in Jamaica Revised Edition; New York: St Martin’s Press, 1994, 17.

[9] Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product per capita rose from J$97.80 in 1950 to J$514.50 in 1972 (Gannon, 180-181).

[10] I follow here the argument of Carl Stone in Class, State and Democracy in Jamaica (Kingston: Blackett Publishers, 1985), which focuses on the role of patronage in Jamaican party politics.

[11] F.S.J. Ledgister, Class Alliances and the Liberal-Authoritarian State: The Roots of Post-Colonial Democracy in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Surinam; Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1998, 74.

[12] This derives from a long history of self-contempt within the culture of Jamaicans of African descent. This involved such things as valuing ‘good’ (straight or loosely-curled) hair over ‘bad’ (nappy) hair, using terms like ‘niggeritis’ to refer to indolence, and ‘Yu too black an ugly’ as an insult (particularly striking when delivered by one person of noticeably African features to another).

[13] Payne, 17.

[14] That race was seen in this way, and not only by middle class Jamaicans, can be noted from the impressions of an outside observer of the Jamaica of the mid 1960s, the Anglo-Hungarian writer George Mikes. For example, Mikes observed two black workers contemplating the statue of Paul Bogle (a hero of the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion – Mikes confuses him with George William Gordon a liberal member of the Jamaica Assembly who was judicially murdered in the aftermath of the revolt) in Morant Bay and noted ‘One of the black workers suddenly burst out angrily: “You know, if he wasn’t a black man, they wouldn’t have made him so black.”’ (George Mikes, Not By Sun Alone; London: André Deutsch, 1967, 57). See also Holger Henke, Between Self-Determination and Dependency: Jamaica’s Foreign Relations, 1972-1989; Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2000, 3. That Jamaicans, with the notable exception of Rastafarians, saw Africa and Africans in this way into the 1970s is attested by Kwame Dawes, the Ghanaian-born son of a Jamaican father, in a recent article (“Passport Control”, Granta 92, Winter 2005,66-69)

[15] Samuel J. Hurwitz and Edith F. Hurwitz, Jamaica: A Historical Portrait; New York: Praeger, 1971, 228.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Gray, 49.

[18] Gray, 50.

[19] Gray, 51. Gray also notes that Henry had written a letter to Fidel Castro announcing his willingness to rise in revolt against the colonial regime.

[20] Gannon, 256.

[21] Gannon, 257-274.

[22] Gannon, 274.

[23] Seaga was to go on to become Minister of Development and Welfare (1962-1967), Minister of Finance (1967-1972), Leader of the JLP and of the parliamentary opposition (1974-1980), Prime Minister (1980-1989), and Leader of the Opposition again (1989-2005). He relinquished leadership of the JLP only last year, at the age of 75.

[24] Gannon, 283-287. Waters, 63-64. Thompson, a brown Jamaican lawyer who had served with distinction in the Royal Air Force during World War II, was the candidate with the most genuine African connection having practiced law in Tanganyika and Kenya and having been one of the lawyers who defended Jomo Kenyatta when he was charged with treason by the British.

[25] Gannon, 287.

[26] Waters, 63-64.

[27] Mikes, 102.

[28] Mikes, 103-104.

[29] Waters, 69. Payne, 20.

[30] Payne, 20.

[31] Waters, 76-77.

[32] Waters, 79.

[33] Seaga was responsible for the annual Jamaica Festival, held in commemoration of independence, from 1962 to 1971. The Festival Commission following him from the Ministry of Development and Welfare to the Ministry of Finance in 1967. In 1968, a poem of his ‘River Mumma’ won a silver medal in the Festival Literary Competition.

[34] Waters, 80.

[35] Rupert C. Lewis, Walter Rodney: 1968 Revisited; Kingston: Canoe Press, 1998, 10-12. One of Waters informants called the Rastafari crowd at the airport ‘the most terrifying demonstration of mass good nature I’d ever seen’ (Waters, 71). Waters and Lewis have differing perceptions of the impact of the visit on the middle class. Lewis states that ‘the middle-class was ambivalent confused and somewhat hostile to the visit’ (Lewis, 11) while Waters states that the absence of conflict and the visible cooperation of Rastas with the authorities ‘helped create an atmosphere of tolerance, if not goodwill, extended to the Rastas by the middle class’ (Waters, 71).

[36] Gannon, 311 fn. Walter Rodney, The Groundings with my Brothers; Chicago: Research Associates School Times Publications, 1990 [1969], 62. All publications on the banned list, with the exception of publications of the DeLawrence Company of Chicago which were seen as promoting sorcery, were unbanned by the PNP government in 1972. Lewis, 40. Lewis notes that copies of Muhammad Speaks were passed from hand to hand in the slums of Kingston (Lewis, 20).

[37] Copies of the original Writers & Readers edition were circulated clandestinely in the late 1960s and early 1970s; one was passed to me in 1971. The Dungle (Dunghill) was the municipal rubbish dump in west Kingston on which many of the poorest urban residents lived, ‘dis land o’ shit’ as one character in the novel calls it. It was bulldozed in 1966 and the Tivoli Gardens housing estate built where it had stood. Unsurprisingly, Tivoli Gardens was populated entirely by staunch supporters of the JLP and of their member of parliament, Edward Seaga. The government of Michael Manley, which included Patterson’s brother Percival as a minister, employed the sociologist as a consultant for a time in the 1970s.

[38] Lewis 40.

[39] Gray, 151.

[40] Lewis, 41.

[41] Lewis, 40-41.

[42] Rodney spent eight and a half months as a lecturer at the Mona campus of the University. (Lewis, 2.)

[43] Rodney, 64.

[44] Gannon, 311 fn.

[45] Gannon, 311 fn.

[46] Lewis, 41. The Special Branch is the political unit of the police force.

[47] Lewis, 3.

[48] Lewis, 4, 16, 37-38.

[49] Rodney, 16.

[50] Rodney, 16-17. Lewis notes that some students feared the implications of Rodney’s argument as this meant socialist revolution (Lewis, 34).

[51] Rodney, 18.

[52] Rodney, 18.

[53] Rodney, 19.

[54] Rodney, 19.

[55] Rodney, 20.

[56] Rodney, 21-22.

[57] Rodney, 23.

[58] Rodney 24. Emphasis in the original.

[59] Rodney, 26-27. In fact, Rodney’s statement contains a significant false assertion – that the British abolished the existing Old Representative constitution of Jamaica in 1865. In actuality, the Jamaica Assembly voted itself out of existence after the Morant Bay Rebellion out of fear of encroaching black and mulatto political gains. It was the fears of the white Jamaican ruling class, rather than British imperial decision-makers that led to the retrocession of legislative power to the crown. (See Gad Heuman, Between Black and White: Race, Politics, and the Free Coloreds in Jamaica, 1792-1865; Bridgeport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981.)

[60] Rodney, 27. Ken Post notes that ‘passages in the report… presented a very unfavourable picture of the results of centuries of British rule’ and that this would have given the German propaganda machine ‘splendid material for attacks on British colonialism’ (Ken Post, Strike the Iron, A Colony at War: Jamaica 1939-1945; The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1981, I. 86).

[61] Rodney, 27.

[62] Rodney, 28.

[63] Rodney, 28.

[64] Rodney 29.

[65] Rodney, 29.

[66] Rodney, 29.

[67] Rodney, 31. Almeida, a mulatto, was at the time the only non-white member of the Cuban government.

[68] Rodney, 31. There are white peasants in the parishes of Westmoreland and St Elizabeth whose conditions of life do not differ from those of their black neighbours.

[69] Rodney, 32.

[70] Rodney, 33-34.

[71] The texts in chapters 4 and 5 of Groundings are summaries of the lectures, rather than the lectures themselves. They nonetheless constitute a brief and lucid overview of the subject.

[72] Rodney, 35.

[73] Rodney, 37.

[74] Rodney, 39.

[75] This is a particularly odd claim, especially in light of the fact that in the next lecture Rodney was to unambiguously claim ancient Egypt as an African civilization, and the Egyptians used the principle of the wheel, not to mention wheels themselves, probably at a time when it was unknown in China.

[76] Rodney, 39-40.

[77] Rodney, 51.

[78] Rodney, 51.

[79] Rodney, 53.

[80] Rodney, 56.

[81] Rodney, 56-57.

[82] Rodney, 58.

[83] Rodney, 12.

[84] Rodney, 12.

[85] Rodney, 13. The terms ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ were given currency in Jamaican political life in the maiden speech of Edward Seaga to the Legislative Council (the forerunner of the present-day Senate) in 1959.

[86] Rodney, 13.

[87] Rodney, 13-14.

[88] Rodney, 14.

[89] Rodney, 14-15.

[90] Rodney, 60-61.

[91] Rodney, 62-63. The term ‘Babylonian Captivity’ is a deliberate echo of Rastafarian belief. Rastas compare the condition of blacks in the diaspora to that of the Jews captive in Babylon.

[92] Rodney, 63-64.

[93] Rodney, 64. Lewis lists a number of the places where Rodney spoke (Lewis, 20)

[94] While the scale of the protest was unprecedented, UWI students had taken direct action in protest at the expulsion of Bertell Ollman in 1966 (Gray, 151).

[95] Rodney, 65-66.

[96] Rodney, 65.

[97] Payne, 23.

[98] Payne, 23-24.

[99] Gray, 160. Payne, 25-26.

[100] Payne, 26.

[101] Carey, a PNP back-bencher, had not previously been known for any particular activism. He died the next year and was succeeded in his constituency by a young lawyer, P.J. Patterson who campaigned using the slogan ‘Young, gifted, and black.’ Patterson has been since 1993 the Prime Minister of Jamaica; the first person of purely or overwhelmingly African ancestry to hold that office.

[102] Gannon, 311 fn.

[103] Gray, 161.

[104] Payne, 26-27. The president of the Guild of Undergraduates, and principal organizer of the student protest, was Ralph Gonzales, a white student from St Vincent. Gonsalves would go on to become a lecturer in political science at the university, a lawyer, and, eventually, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

[105] Payne, 27.

[106] Waters, 100.

[107] Gray, 160.

[108] The abeng was the cowhorn used as a means of communication by the Maroon rebels of the 18th century. The word is of Twi (Fanti and Ashanti) origin (F. G. Cassidy & R. B. Le Page, Dictionary of Jamaican English 2nd Edition; Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2002, 2).

[109] Abeng was also inspired by the fortnightly journal Moko published in Trinidad by Lloyd Best (Gray, 168-169).

[110] Waters, 96. Gray, 169-182.

[111] Waters, 97.

[112] Later to become the Workers’ Party of Jamaica.

[113] Waters, 98.

[114] Waters, 90.

[115] Waters, 164.

[116] Al Creighton, ‘The Walter Rodney factor in West Indian literature’ URL: (Originally published in the Stabroek News, 18 June 2000.)

[117] Waters, 139.

[118] Waters, 164-176.

[119] F.S.J. Ledgister and Anita M. Waters "Commemorating Caribbean public scholarship: the memory of Walter Rodney in Jamaica," paper presented at the Atlanta University Center Conference on Walter Rodney, Atlanta, Georgia, March 23, 2004.

[120] Gray, 153.

[121] One is not sure that this point of view would have been acceptable to, say, a Crimean Tatar.

[122] Rodney, 40.

[123] Denis Benn, The Caribbean: An Intellectual History, 1774-2003; Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 2004, 249.

[124] Benn, 249.

[125] Benn, 250.

[126] Benn, 250.

[127] Benn, 250.

[128] Anthony Bogues, Black Heretics, Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals; New York: Routledge, 2003, 125.

[129] Bogues, 126.

[130] Thomas, a Trinidadian, was the first black West Indian to directly challenge white assertions of inherent black inferiority requiring colonial rule into an infinite future.

[131] Bogues, 127.

[132] Bogues, 128.

[133] Bogues, 137. Bogues is here citing a speech Rodney gave in New York in 1975.

[134] Bogues, 142.

[135] Bogues, 143-144.

[136] Bogues, 150.

[137] Silvio Torres-Saillant, An Intellectual History of the Caribbean; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 152.

[138] Torres-Saillant, 152.

[139] Ledgister & Waters, 4.

[140] Ledgister & Waters, 4. Gray, 157. Lewis, 36-37.

[141] It is worth noting, though, that Stokely Carmichael, who first used the phrase, was a Trinidadian.

[142] Rodney, 19.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just a test of the comments.