Carol Polsgrove
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‘Generals without an army’
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Through writing and publishing together, C. L. R. James, George Padmore, Johnstone Kenyatta, Wallace Johnson, and their allies strengthened their common belief that they could bring into being a new, independent Africa. In the communal act of writing and publishing, they created an 'imagined community', an Africa free of imperial rule. Unlike Kenyatta, both James and Padmore, their own ties with African tradition attenuated by centuries in the New World envisioned an Africa becoming more rather than less Western and leaving its tribal ways behind. Ras Makonnen recalled that the communists saw them as '"generals without an army, they have no base and must depend on their pens"'. Communists had worked themselves into positions as magazine editors and reviewers, and, Fredric Warburg feared, were certain to hand out rough treatment to books that were unsympathetic towards communism.

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Ending British rule in Africa

Writers in a common cause


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