Chinweizu Ibekwe’s classic The West and the Rest of Us, is widely referenced and suggested as essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the dialectics of the development of western civilization, and the underdevelopment of Africa and the rest of the world. After years of hearing about and searching for this book, the editors at C-101 were able to procure a library copy that was up for sale (for about $30 plus on Amazon). Unfortunately, this book is out of print, however, anyone interested in reading this book should stay persistent and be on the lookout because it is in fact essential reading. Peppered with humor and wit, this book provides valuable insights and a dialogical flow which is reminiscent of having a conversation with an elder who has done extensive study into the conditions of African and other oppressed people, with an analysis that is rooted in the materialist conception of history.
Chinweizu accurately places our conditions as African people into the context of a conquered nation. He makes it clear that we do not suffer from a “color” problem; we suffer because we cannot protect our nation from attack. This understanding is a key component in recognizing our true allies and/or patriots in the struggle for liberation because we will stop assuming that people with a darker hue than Westerners will be natural allies in the process of restoring the African nation. We have to be cognizant of people’s ideology and whether their ultimate goals are based on reactionary or revolutionary nationalism. By solely focusing on the color of one’s skin, we will never be able to explain and understand the Africans who hold African people with contempt (sell outs like Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa and Léopold Sédar Senghor come to mind after reading this book, and that’s just to name a few). Again, this book buttresses the fact that there is no such thing as an “African dictator” but only African puppets, because in order to dictate you have to have power. Although the cost to purchase this book is prohibitive for most, it covers so much material, We suggest you check out a copy at your local library if you can.