They Pimp Buxon, Now they Want to Pimp Rodney
by Dr. David Hinds

I have been most distressed since the appearance of the ACDA article on Walter Rodney. I know who was responsible for soliciting the article on ACDA's behalf and who wrote the first draft. I have since responded, along with Bros Roopnarine and Kwayana to the article, but my distress has continued. Freddie Kissoon and Wendell George have correctly exposed and condemned the untruths in article. M. Bacchus has since penned at least three responses to these two gentlemen and in the process admitted that there might have been some inaccuracies in the article. Although this lady "holds no brief for ACDA," she is the only person who has defended the article. ACDA has not responded to date.

Why did ACDA publish that article? I had heard weeks before through the grapevine that the ACDA article on Walter Rodney, which eventually appeared in the Kaieteur News (September 26, 2004) was in the works and that some WPA people, including this writer, were suggested as possible writers. However, this suggestion was dismissed. I, for example, was eliminated on the "highly credible" ground that I was pro-PPP and had been promised something big by the PPP(perhaps a Prado, a Minster job or a house lot at Pradoville).

When I first saw the article, I was most shocked that ACDA would allow such a ridiculous and mischievous piece of writing to appear under its name. Did the WPA people in ACDA's top brass see this article before it went out? The writer not only got the facts wrong but he/she exonerated the PNC from responsibility for Rodney's murder. This is explosive stuff. I immediately started to respond to the article, but stopped for two reasons. First, I know the author of the first draft of the article and I could not work out whether that person signed off on the final version. Second, I sensed that the article was part of something bigger and wanted to see the plot. These people could not be serious about teaching the country about Rodney; they wanted to make a bigger point. After three weeks I have been proven right. There is a clique in ACDA that want to reintroduce Burnham as the ultimate African Guyanese hero, but they had to first exonerate him of Rodney's murder. I have also concluded that all of ACDA's top brass was not part of this plot. I also believe that the writer of the original draft for the article is not responsible for all of what appeared in the final version.

In Guyana Rodney more often than not has been discussed by those who recognize his life and contributions without malice. Except for small hints here and there, the PNC leadership has avoided any public discussion of Rodney although PNC leader, Robert Corbin did stun some of us in March 2004 when, at a PMJ symposium at the City Hall, he declared unprompted that there is no Walter Rodney around today to bring about racial unity in Guyana. The press, which was there, not surprisingly, did not see it fit to highlight this statement.

One of the admirable things about Rodney is that although he remained an ardent advocate of Black Power, he did not impose it on the Guyanese situation. There is a debate in academic circles as to whether Rodney's focus on class in Guyana represented a break with Black Nationalism in his last years or whether it was a recognition that Black Nationalism as a tool of mobilization and analysis was not applicable to Guyana in the 1970s. I raise this point because it seems to me that the ACDA article reflects a lack of understanding of Walter Rodney, his philosophy and his praxis. But more than that ignorance is the willingness to use Rodney to argue narrow politics. The ACDA article shamefully (or is it shamelessly?) uses Rodney to cuss out the PPP and Indians. And it goes beyond that; it uses Rodney against Rodney. ACDA uses an article meant to celebrate Rodney to exonerate the intellectual authors, the masterminds of Rodney's murder so that they could the following week celebrate the chief intellectual author as the ultimate African Guyanese hero.

The ACDA article gives us biographical information about Rodney but does not discuss any of his ideas. It tells us who Rodney threatened politically, but fails to discuss the essence of his multi-racial approach. Some African Guyanese leaders are obsessed with a vulgar form of anti-Indianism and PPPism that is bereft of any reason. Part of it is political laziness since these people refuse to do the necessary intellectual and practical work that is needed to solve our national problem. So they grab for nice sounding catch phrases and translate them into a psuedo ideology that explains African Guyanese woes as a function of an Indian religious-political philosophy of domination and genocide of darker races. Since Rodney does not fit that psuedo-ideology, they have to invent untruths to put him there. Those who are responsible for the article do not believe the PPP had anything to do with Rodney's murder, but in their quest to construct an African Guyanese nationalism they clutch at anything, including political pimping.

I am obviously opposed to this political pimping that is so pervasive among most of the African Guyanese leadership. They pimped the 2002 escapees and the gullible young men and women in Buxton and in the process destroyed the village that nurtured me. Now they want to pimp Rodney's legacy. I have in the past had some relations with members of ACDA's leadership and still have deep admiration for some of the work they do among poor Black people. But I can't be silent in the face of this clear agenda aimed at further poisoning African minds with false information and wicked ideology.

If some people in ACDA want to cuss out Indians and the PPP, they can do so without deliberately falsifying history and dragging Rodney into their squalor. My sense is that despite Burnham's brutal dictatorial rule, most African Guyanese will still embrace him as a hero because like most of Guyanese politics, heroism is largely constructed against the background of racial insecurity and fear. Rodney, however, is a different kind of hero. The Rodney heroism is grounded in a willingness to confront the logic and outcomes of racial fear and insecurity.

I notice that after the Burnham article, the series has stopped. Are there other Guyanese heroes?

[Editor's Note: All credit to Dr. Hinds and the website where this article was extracted from.]

October 2004
© 2001