In his short life, the Guyanese intellectual Walter Rodney emerged as one of the leading revolutionary thinkers of the Black Sixties. He became a leading force of dissent throughout the Caribbean and a lightning rod of controversy. The 1958 Rodney Riots erupted in Jamaica when he was prevented from returning to his teaching post at the University of the West Indies. In 1980, Rodney was assassinated in Guyana, reportedly at the behest of the government.
In the mid-’70s, Rodney taught a course on the Russian Revolution at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. A Pan-Africanist and Marxist, Rodney sought to make sense of the reverberations of the October Revolution in a decolonising world marked by Third World revolutionary movements. He intended to publish a book based on his research and teaching. Now historians Jesse Benjamin, Robin D. G. Kelley, and Vijay Prashad have edited Rodney’s polished chapters and unfinished lecture notes, presenting the book that Rodney had hoped to publish in his lifetime.
1917 is a signal event in radical publishing, and will inaugurate Verso’s standard edition of Walter Rodney’s works.