March 23, 2012 marks the 70th birthday of Walter Rodney, fallen African martyr. Walter Rodney was an African revolutionary who played a leading role in the Guyana-based Working People’s Alliance. Rodney also authored several books such as “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.” In honor of Rodney’s life and work, we share the following quote which was originally posted two years ago on Uhuru News:
“Walter Rodney, March 23, 1942-June 13, 1980. Comrade Walter, a true African revolutionary and intellectual, was a pioneer in bringing science to our movement and revolution. He came to grips with the class question early on in his life and died a true fighter for the emancipation of the African working class. In fact he was the leader of the Guyana based, Working People’s Alliance. Walter made these observations of the 6th Pan-African Congress held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1974.
In a 1974 interview with “The Black Scholar” magazine, Walter Rodney said,
“We have allowed illusions to take place of serious analysis of what actual struggles are taking place in the African continent; what social forces are represented in the government and what is the actual shape of society. We made the same mistake about Kwame Nkrumah and we were very surprised when he was overthrown because we thought that everything was fine in Ghana and that the CPP and Nkrumah had things perfectly under control.
“And we woke up subsequent to this overthrow to a realization that there was a struggle developing in Ghana and it was a natural consequence of that struggle that this particular stratum emerging as a petty bourgeois class around the Ghanaian state should act against an option which seemed to threaten them — with or without the direct intervention of imperialism.
“That the African states, however progressive, are at the present time far more likely to strike up an alliance with the Caribbean states as such is an abject lesson here. It indicates that the class which governs Africa is prepared to ally with the class which governs the Caribbean.
“From there we may inquire further to recognize the same class is operating in both societies…That is the most important lesson for us Caribbean people — that we cannot romanticize the situation in Africa. We must draw distinctions. Who is who in Africa? What are the state structures? What are the classes?”