A Reader on Black Revolutionaries in the United States
January 24, 2016 10:38 AM   Subscribe

A Reader on Black Revolutionaries in the United States [via mefi projects]

In the spirit of their previous project, a reader on European Socialism and Communism, the Communist Research Cluster has released a reader on Black Revolutionaries in the United States [PDF].

You can read more about the rationale behind the readers, as well as some advice for organizing reading groups.

ePub and Mobi formats of the readers are also available.
posted by Westringia F. (5 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
This is very interesting. thanks for posting. deeper reading , of course, is required before more cogent commentary.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:50 AM on January 24, 2016

It should also be mentioned that the editors of this compilation anticipate releasing a revised version, which has led to some additional discussion about other things to include on the projects page!
posted by Westringia F. at 11:06 AM on January 24, 2016

posted by yueliang at 11:59 AM on January 24, 2016

This is a good introduction firsthand to a number of important Black authors and white Marxists who tried to grapple with Black liberation in the US.

If you want to get into the 1920s and 1930s, Mark Solomon's The Cry Was Unity is a solid starting point. It's heavily dependent upon Mark Naison's Communists in Harlem During the Depression and Robin D.G. Kelley's Hammer and Hoe, but Solomon is a terrific survey of the period that gives background for Naison and Kelley. Hosea Hudson, who figured prominently in the Alabama Communist Party, wrote a very readable memoir: Black Worker in the Deep South. Harry Haywood wrote an autobiography which originally had the delicious title Black Bolshevik, but was renamed Black Communist in the Freedom Struggle for its reissue.

I appreciate the inclusion of the CLR James and Richard Fraser pieces in this anthology a lot. Fraser's work (you can read more here but ignore the introduction by the Spartacist League, who are all kinds of awful) has been very important to my own politics, which view the idea of Black liberation as absolutely essential but are skeptical of most of the overtly nationalist politics from the past. I think Fraser was broadly correct but overly rigid; it's a long conversation that puts me at odds with certain types of Trotskyists.

It's good overall, although the last couple of sections rely entirely on the New Communist Movement (the various Mao-oriented groups of the 1970s) which I don't have any sympathy with.
posted by graymouser at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2016 [6 favorites]

Thanks for the recommendations, graymouser. There's a Further Reading section at the end of the reader which highlights a lot of the books you mentioned, and also some others.

Also just FYI the revised edition of Black Bolshevik cuts out about half of the original book, leaving out a lot of the interesting details. I highly recommend splurging for the original (or reading the PDF) instead if one is interested in Haywood's life.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:33 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

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