As activists who strive to bring about a new just and egalitarian society, we seek to understand the world we live in, the forces that keep it in motion, its contradictions, and most importantly: identify our allies and opponent. Our principal weapon in this struggle is theory which drives practice: the knowledge which helps us identify and expose oppression and injustice; which helps us build the solidarity with oppressed, rather than siding with the oppressor and participating in the oppression. One such theory which clarifies the complex web of human relationships and the chains that bind them all together is professor Donald Clelland’s theory of dark value and surplus drain. This theory had a profound impact on our collective analysis.
Although we didn’t have the pleasure and honour to meet professor Clelland personally, we are confident that his academic contribution represents his traits. His work reflects a person with empathy for the oppressed regardless of borders — fixed or imaginary — between nation, ethnicity, gender, and race. Above all, Clelland’s work demonstrates courage in speaking up for the oppressed and intellectually exposing systemic injustice. As a scholar working in the academy, Clelland had a rare commitment to justice who always prioritized advancing cutting-edge theory above concerns of professional or personal stigmatization, alienation, or ostracism.
With shock and sadness, we have received the news of professor Clelland’s passing away on the 22nd of April, 2021. We would like to express our condolences first of all to his family and friends, and the radical scientific community for this great loss. We are certain that the ideas of professor Clelland will continue to live on in the practice of anti-imperialist activists, as well as shape the ideas of radical world-systems scholars and all those that seek to make the world a better place to be.
We would like to express our gratitude to professor Clelland’s wife, Wilma Dunaway for keeping his research and notes available in the interest of the general public at:
For a more personal obituary, please refer to:
Rest in Power, Don!
“The workers who most need to unite are those of the (semi)periphery. They have nothing to lose but their commodity chains of global value transfer. “