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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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  • TO REMAIN SILENT IS IMPOSSIBLE: Emma Goldman & Alexander Berkman In Russia

    on Square Market

    Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, the Russian Jewish immigrants who were once called “the two most notorious anarchists in the United States” by the New York Times, were the most outstanding revolutionary activists of their generation. Arrested in 1917 for their anti-conscription campaign during the First World War, they were subsequently deported to Russia in the 1919-1920 Red Scare.

    Although they were initially optimistic about returning to Russia in the midst of social revolution, over the next two years Goldman and Berkman would come face-to-face with the contradictions of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” as they witnessed the persecution of Russian anarchists, the suppression of revolutionary labor movements, and the brutal annihilation of the 1921 Kronstadt Uprising.

    The two anarchists learned from experience that the Bolshevik dictatorship was not the embodiment of the workers’ revolution that it claimed to be, but was in fact “the very antithesis of revolution.” Their first-hand accounts of the situation in Russia reminded revolutionaries everywhere that “the state - whatever its name or form - is ever the mortal enemy of liberty and popular self-determination” and that true social revolution can never be managed or manipulated by political parties seeking state power, but must emerge from the creative self-activity of working people themselves.

    This new volume collects selected writings by Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman that recount their experiences in Russia from 1920 to 1922. Famous essays like “Bolsheviks Shooting Anarchists,” “The Prisons of Russia,” and “There Is No Communism in Russia” are collected here alongside immortal pamphlets like The Crushing of the Russian RevolutionThe Russian Tragedy, and The Kronstadt Rebellion. Selections from Emma Goldman’s memoir, My Disillusionment in Russia, are also included, as well as many other documents and manuscripts.

    Order your copy at the link above!

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  • Coming Fall 2014: Eusi Kwayana, THE BAUXITE STRIKE AND THE OLD POLITICS [Revised 2nd Edition]

    Kwayana, THE BAUXITE STRIKE AND THE OLD POLITICS on Square Market

    “Every man is his own leader and we are leaderless” — this was the organizational principle voiced by the Afro-Guyanese bauxite mine workers in the democratic councils and mass assemblies that characterized the bauxite strike of April 1970.

    Originally published in 1972, Eusi Kwayana’s The Bauxite Strike and the Old Politics examines the struggle for workers’ control in what was Guyana’s soon-to-be-nationalized bauxite industry. Kwayana’s account of these events underscores the workers’ conviction that “nationalization without workers’ control and workers’ self-management is a fraud.”

    This revised second edition includes an introduction by Matthew Quest and an appendix of rare documents published by ASCRIA (African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa). Over thirty leaflets, pamphlets, essays, editorials, and newspaper articles have been reprinted in this volume, documenting the struggle for workers’ self-emancipation in Guyana from the bauxite strike of 1970 to the sugar workers’ rebellion of 1974.

    PRE-ORDER your copy today at the link above!

    Praise for Eusi Kwayana...

    “Eusi Kwayana’s, The Bauxite Strike and the Old Politics is a classic document of the Caribbean. … Very nicely re-introduced by Matthew Quest, the work makes clear the strong claims these movements made regarding the self-organizing capabilities of workers. Further, it sheds great light on the roots of the post-colonial crisis of governance in the region, which has only gotten worse since the time during which Kwayana wrote this penetrating text. A must read for all who are thinking about the rebuilding of a global Left movement.”
    — Paget Henry, Sociology and Africana Studies, Brown University.

    “The republication of Eusi Kwayana’s Bauxite Strike and the Old Politics … could not be more welcome forty years after its first introduction and impact. In a state of affairs in Guyana today where the ‘old politics’ is very much alive, Kwayana’s [work] … is as relevant as ever.”
    — Nigel Westmaas, Africana Studies Department, Hamilton College.

    “The new edition of Eusi Kwayana’s The Bauxite Strike and the Old Politics … is a well-written account of struggles against injustice, oppression, and corruption in Guyana’s post-independence era.”
    — Jerome Teelucksingh, University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago.

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