Sep 11, 2023
This is a conversation about Andaiye who was born 81 years ago today on September 11th 1942.
For this discussion we speak with Alissa Trotz, who like Andaiye was born in Guyana. Alissa teaches in Women and Gender Studies and Caribbean Studies at the University of Toronto. For the last 15 years she has edited In the Diaspora, a weekly newspaper column in a Guyanese daily newspaper, the Stabroek News. Alissa has worked with Red Thread, the women’s organization co-founded by Andaiye, for over two and a half decades. She is the editor of the book we discuss today, The Point is to Change the World: Selected Writings of Andaiye published by Pluto Press. The book also has a recently translated Portuguese version, published by Edition Funilaria in Brazil.
Andaiye was one of the Caribbean's most important political voices. She was a radical activist, thinker, and comrade of Walter Rodney.
Through essays, speeches, letters and journal entries, Andaiye's thinking on the intersections of gender, race, class and power are profoundly articulated, Caribbean histories emerge, and stories from a life lived at the barricades are revealed. We learn about the early years of the Working People's Alliance, the meaning and impact of the murder of Walter Rodney and the fall of the Grenada Revolution. Throughout, we bear witness to Andaiye's acute understanding of politics rooted in communities and the daily lives of so-called ordinary people.
We discuss various writings from this collection. Touching on concepts like negation and self-negation, self-criticism as a political method, Andaiye’s concept of the conspiracy of mutual caring, some of her reflections on her time with Walter Rodney in the Working People’s Alliance, and a good deal discussing Andaiye’s thought around the importance of autonomy in organizing. There are also some discussions of the importance of cross-racial organizing in a context like Guyana with a working class politically divided along racial lines. Alissa shares with us reflections on the work of Red Thread, in which again she and Andaiye both organized. We touch on work around wages for housework, social reproduction and care, and how Andaiye organized around many different issues from violence against women and children to her own battle with cancer.
And if you appreciate the work that we do. Our work is 100% funded by our listeners and so if you like the content that we bring you multiple times per week, please join the wonderful folks who support this show and make these conversations possible at patreon.com/millennialsarekillingcapitalism
Visit their website and read more about Red Thread.