Groundings Latest Issues

Below you can find the table of contents for the latest issues of Groundings. All articles are Open Access and links to each article are provided below. The journal is hosted on Science Open and can be found here to read online.  

Groundings: Development, Pan-Africanism and Critical Theory: The Journal of the Walter Rodney Foundation

Jesse Benjamin and Asha T. Rodney

Introduction to the Turkish Edition of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
Michael O. West

Written as an original introduction for the first Turkish-language edition of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, published in 2015 in Ankara, the author provides critical context for Walter Rodney’s historically significant and best known work, very much still relevant now almost 50 years later. Extending Rodney’s anticolonial interpretation of modern global history and its underlying exploitative relationalities to Turkish-language speakers is an important contribution of this translation, and the introduction aimed at introducing a new audience to Rodney, his life and background, his college and early professional years, his work in Tanzania, Jamaica, Guyana. In the process, a dense political description of the anticolonial 1960s and 1970s contexts Rodney lived in and influenced emerges across the Caribbean, Europe, North America and especially in Africa, where this book was written.

Keywords: Walter Rodney, Caribbean politics, Caribbean philosophy, African politics, African history, intellectual history, Pan-Africanism, Black nationalism, underdevelopment

The Black Panther Party’s War of Position, Neoliberal Passive Revolution, and the Origin of the Prison Industrial Complex in the U.S. and Canada
Chris Harris

This paper contributes to the debates on Neoliberal Passive Revolution in the U.S. by examining the legacy of the Black Panther Party’s war of position against internal colonialism, which culminated in the rise of neoliberalism to contain the racial crisis in America. Gramsci’s (1971) theory of working class organic intellectuals, passive revolution, and the war of position in civil society to win proletarian hegemony in fascist Italy, is utilized as a framework to analyze the historical significance of the U.S. Black Panther Party. The party’s war of position, under the ideological leadership of Panther leader Huey Newton, transformed race relations in America, by challenging White ruling class hegemony in working class African-American communities throughout the country. The Panther war of position was defeated, but it was ultimately responsible for the ascendancy of the neo-liberal passive revolution that was carried out by the ruling class to contain the African-American working class; while incorporating the African-American middle class into U.S. civil society and political society on an unprecedented level. This paper hopes to contribute to the development of Toronto’s prison abolition movement to end mass incarceration in Canada. For this to occur, I will discuss the historical context of the prison industrial complex in the U.S., which inspired its formation in Canada over the last two decades. In Canada, neoliberalism took the form of a counter-reformation: a restoration with no progressive element. The Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie organized the prison industrial complex differently than the U.S. But mass incarceration was introduced by the Canadian state with the same intention to occupy and contain African-Canadian communities, to reduce their ability to transform Canadian capitalist imperialism into a socialist workers state organized on the principal of self-determination for the Indigenous and African nations.

Keywords: Black Panther Party, War of Position, Neoliberal Passive Revolution, Counter-Reformation
“Collaborators” or “Resistors,” “Loyalists” versus “Rebels”: Problematizing Colonial Binary Nomenclatures through the Prism of Dedan Kimathi’s Career
Nicholas Githuku
This paper evaluates the “evolution” of African anti-imperial resistance in African history in general and that of Kenya in particular, in the attempt to reveal hidden or private/public transcripts and inherent power dynamics that fueled political dissent, opposition, and action. James C. Scott informs us that people, generally, and especially where relations of power are concerned, do not usually wear their opinions, emotions, motives or deepest thoughts that shape their behavior on their sleeve. Therefore, throughout history, the vast majority of people, the “dissembled weak,” or “those subject to elaborate and systematic forms of social subordination,” are given to putting up “public performances,” a perfunctory adherence to imposed laws, policies, and the status quo as is required of them. The outcome of this general rule of thumb is a “public transcript” that, “by its accommodationist tone,” provides “convincing evidence for the hegemony of dominant values, for the hegemony of dominant discourse.” Such public transcripts are misleading since they lead observers to “conclude that subordinate groups endorse the terms of their subordination and are willing, even enthusiastic, partners in that subordination.” The implications of Scott’s insightful paradigmatic conceptualization of the internal dynamics of the “arts of resistance” are far-reaching. This radical conceptualization of the concealed roots of external human behavior, and “public performances,” naturally complicates earlier analysis of social categories of African responses to European imperialism thought to be straightforward and concrete or mutually exclusive. It presents a possibility for an analysis and reinterpretation of the deep psychosociological springs and triggers of human behavior, which necessitates a crucial return to this important theme in African history. That is, a more nuanced scrutiny and critical study of the popular mind or populist reason. This paper is such a critical reexamination of problematic social categories and Eurocentric binary nomenclatures.
Pluto Journals