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  • Eusi Kwayana's 90th Birthday

    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

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  • ORGANIZATION & SPONTANEITY by Kimathi Mohammed

    “Kimathi Mohammed’s essays represent a creative and brilliant attempt to forge an organizational path for black radical politics, away from the well known limitations of elite vanguardism. His engagements with the work of C.L.R. James, the Black Panther Party and the League of Revolutionary Workers make his contribution a neglected and important part of the history of black radicalism, and of considerable relevance today.” 
    — Aaron Kamugisha, Lecturer in Cultural Studies, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus

    on Square Market

    “It is somewhat disgusting to hear self-styled Black leaders talk about leading the ‘unorganized’ masses,” writes Kimathi Mohammed. “It was the ‘unorganized’ masses who congregated in the streets, defied curfews, engaged in direct confrontation with the police and military…and unleashed a burning assault upon the property of their oppressors. If the Black masses were unorganized, it definitely didn’t appear that they were.…All the major rebellions erupted spontaneously and violently—Harlem in 1964, Watts in 1965, Newark and Cleveland in 1967.…No one had to tell them what to do; they mobilized and organized themselves and did what had to be done."

    Kimathi Mohammed’s Organization & Spontaneity was originally published in 1974 as a response to key contradictions of the Black freedom movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mohammed was among the most original political theorists of the Black Power era. His work emphasized the self-organization of ordinary African Americans and their liberating, self-directed activism.

    The updated 2012 edition includes a new introductory essay by Modibo Kadalie, an afterword by Matthew Quest, and Kimathi Mohammed’s previously unpublished essay, “Beyond Measure,” which explores the influence of C.L.R. James on the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.

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