Poetry and Walter Rodney’s unfinished revolution
in Revolutionary lives of the Red and Black Atlantic since 1917
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This essay probes the political practice of the Guyanese revolutionary intellectual and political figure Walter Rodney in relation to Linton Kwesi Johnson’s elegy for him, ‘Reggae fi Radni’. Drawing on Rodney’s politics in the last years of his life in Guyana as a member of the Working People’s Alliance and C.L.R. James’s speech ‘Walter Rodney and the Question of Power’, the chapter does not make an argument per se but rather explores Johnson’s poem in relation to James’s analysis in order to raise questions about political conjuncture, revolutionary politics and the seizure of power. As I suggest, revolution ‘is about tempo, timing, and the turn, that moment of possibility embedded in the break – and the moment, that poetic-political cut, had yet to present itself in Guyana, it would seem’.


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