The Point is to Change the World: A Conversation with Alissa Trotz

Alissa Trotz is Professor of Caribbean Studies at New College and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. She is also affiliate faculty at the Dame Nita Barrow Institute of Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. She is a member of Red Thread Women’s Organization in Guyana and editor of “In the Diaspora,” a weekly newspaper column in the Guyanese daily, Stabroek News.

In this conversation with David Austin and Firoze Manji, we will reflect with Alissa on the work of Andaiye (September 11, 1942–May 31, 2019), who was one of the Caribbean’s leading radical political figures, social and political thinkers, and public intellectuals. She spent all of her adult life in left and women’s politics in Guyana, the Caribbean and internationally. In Guyana, she was a member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), serving on the party executive and as party coordinator/editor, international secretary and women’s secretary through the period of political turbulence and anti-dictatorial struggle that culminated in the assassination of Walter Rodney on June 13, 1980.

The Point is to Change the World (Pluto Press and Between the lines, 2020 ) by Andaiye was edited by Alissa. 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.

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