Today is the 90th birthday of Eusi Kwayana, a revolutionary Pan-Africanist and independent socialist activist, teacher, and writer from Guyana. During the struggle for Guyanese independence, Kwayana was imprisoned by the British army in 1954. In 1956, he founded County High School (later renamed Republic Cooperative High School) in Buxton, Guyana. In 1964, he co-founded the African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa (ASCRIA), an Afro-Guyanese socialist and anti-colonialist organization. In 1974, ASCRIA joined the Working People's Alliance, which is famously affiliated with another Guyanese revolutionary, Walter Rodney, who was assassinated in 1980.
Throughout his lifetime of social activism, Eusi Kwayana has advocated politics of direct democracy and working-class self-management. In his writings, he emphasizes that revolutionary change comes from among the ranks or ordinary people, through their own self-organization. His book The Bauxite Strike and the Old Politics (1972) documents an early 1970s bauxite miners' strike in Guyana during which striking workers organized themselves under the slogan "Every man is his own leader and we are leaderless" and directed their strike efforts through mass assemblies and direct-democratic councils.
Kwayana is also the author of several other books, including Next Witness, Scars of Bondage, Guyana: No Guilty Race, Walter Rodney: His Last Days and Campaigns, and Buxton Friendship in Print and Memory.
The Bauxite Strike and the Old Politics was republished by On Our Own Authority! in 2012. That same year, Eusi Kwayana visited Atlanta to launch the book and deliver a talk at the Auburn Avenue Research Library for African American History and Culture (the top photo was taken during the event). The newest edition of the book is available for sale at the link below and includes an appendix of rare documents published by ASCRIA in the early 1970s.
It is impossible to summarize the life and significance of such a celebrated figure as Baba Eusi Kwayana within the confines of one blog post. We are honored to have worked with Eusi over the past three years and look forward to continuing that work into the future.
We are all sending you our warmest congratulations on your 90th year, Baba Eusi! As you are known for saying, Walk Good!
Kwayana, THE BAUXITE STRIKE AND THE OLD POLITICS on Square Market