Ronald W. Walters 1938-2010: A fighter against global apartheid

Published on Pambazuka, by Horace Campbell, Sept. 23, 2010.

Ronald W. Walters, academic, activist and dedicated Pan-Africanist, died on 10 September 2010. Horace Campbell remembers the man who helped build the global Pan-African movement and mobilised generations of black Americans against racism.

Brother Ronald Walters joined the ancestors on 10 September 2010. Over the past 50 years he was a scholar and activist in all areas of the global Pan-African movement. From his early years in Kansas, USA, in the movement against Jim Crow he was involved in demonstrations and sit-ins. 

Walters emerged as a major international spokesperson for reparations, peace and social justice. He was at the forefront of the campaigns of the African Liberation Support Committee in the early 1970s and was a participant in the World Conference against Racism in Durban 30 years later. He wrote passionately against apartheid and worked to build a grassroots movement across Africa to oppose global apartheid.

As one of the activists behind the anti-apartheid struggles, he saw first-hand how the system responded to the activities of congressman Charles Diggs, who carried forth the anti-apartheid work from the halls of Congress. Serving as Diggs’ senior advisor, Walters sharpened the international understanding of the Rhodesian and South African apartheid regimes. He was at the base of the mobilisation of blacks to exercise their right to participate in the political system in the United States and wrote extensively on its political processes.

As one of the forces behind the Rainbow Coalition and the Jesse Jackson campaigns in 1984, and 1988, Walters wanted to carry forward the struggles for full democratic rights. While he is better known for his scholarly writings, for example, ‘Black Presidential Politics in America: A Strategic Approach’, Walters was committed to the struggles against institutionalised racism and eugenics. He elaborated on this in the book ‘White Nationalism: Black Interests, Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community’. This book can assist us in understanding the rabid racist movement that continues to try and dominate public spaces in the United States.

Walters opposed white supremacy and white nationalism and worked hard to alert students to the realities of the US state system. It was his objective to work for a new society where all humans could live in dignity. His support for the rights of oppressed peoples led him to articulate a brand of Pan-Africanism that supported the rights of oppressed blacks and indigenous peoples in all parts of the world. For instance, he supported the rights of self determination of Palestinians. His scholarship and activism are a beacon for those who want to understand the meaning of commitment. He struggled hard to break the conservative stranglehold on mainstream political scientists.

STRUGGLES IN THE ACADEMY: … (full long text).

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Ron Walters: Scholar-Activist 1938 – 2010.

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