This volume explores the life histories of a wide range of radical figures whose political activity in relation to the black liberation struggle was catalysed or profoundly shaped by the global impact and legacy of the Russian Revolution of October 1917. The volume includes new perspectives on the intellectual trajectories of well-known figures such as C.L.R. James, Paul Robeson, Raya Dunayevskaya and Walter Rodney, as well as the important South African trade union leader Clements Kadalie and the poet Amiri Baraka. The volume also brings together new research and scholarship on a number of critical activists who were influenced by ‘black Bolshevism’ such as Henry Hubert Harrison, Wilfred Domingo, Cyril Briggs, Grace P. Campbell and Lamine Senghor. Detailed engagements with the political trajectories of such revolutionary figures opens up a set of diverse perspectives and engagements with different articulations of black internationalisms in the wake of the Russian Revolution. This enables a focus on the different and contested terms on which these relations were shaped, and some of the nuanced situated ways in which these relations were negotiated and lived. The engagement with particular lives and experiences offers a focus on different forms of political agency and solidarity shaped at the intersection of the Russian Revolution and the wider Black Atlantic world. Such a biographical approach brings a vivid and distinctive lens to bear on how racialised social and political worlds were negotiated and experienced, and also on historic black radical engagements with left political movements and organising.
A savage song examines the multiple narratives of race, manhood, and nation to emanate from practices of anti-black and anti-Mexican terror in the early twentieth century, tracing within them the broader reverberations of slavery, settler colonialism, and U.S. imperialism. It considers instances of violence enacted by white citizens and agents of the state, as well as instances in which Mexican and black men respectively took up armed resistance to massacre. Drawing upon mainstream and radical print media from the United States and Mexico, cultural texts, government documents, and archival materials, the book asks how these moments of killing and dying were understood by a range of actors, under what historical conditions they unfolded, and how they came to be infused with raced, gendered, and historical meaning. Notions of masculine power were central to explanations that sought to rationalize or celebrate racial violence and the order it enforced, as well as those which sought to imagine new worlds. In U.S. cultural and political discourses, the racial degeneracy of black and Mexican men was delineated not only in the acts of savagery they supposedly committed or threatened to commit, but also in the profuse, public, and abject manner in which they died. Mexicans and African Americans challenging U.S. violence deployed their own discourses of death and resistance that both subverted and rearticulated dominant gendered logic.
In 1980–81, anti-police collective violence spread across England. This was the earliest confrontation between the state and members of the British public during Thatcher’s divisive government. This powerful and original book locates these disturbances within a longer struggle against racism and disadvantage faced by black Britons, which had seen a growth in more militant forms of resistance since the Second World War. In this first full-length historical study of 1980–81, three case studies – of Bristol, Brixton and Manchester – emphasise the importance of local factors and the wider situation, concluding that these events should be viewed as ‘collective bargaining by riot’ – as a tool attempting increased political inclusion for marginalised black Britons. Focusing on the political activities of black Britons themselves, it explores the actions of community organisations in the aftermath of disorders to highlight dichotomous valuations of state mechanisms. A key focus is public inquiries, which were contrastingly viewed by black Britons as either a governmental diversionary tactic, or a method of legitimising their inclusion with the British constitutional system. Through study of a wide range of newly available archives, interviews, understudied local sources and records of grassroots black political organisations, this work expands understandings of protest movements and community activism in modern democracies while highlighting the often-problematic reliance upon ‘official’ sources when forming historical narratives. Of interest to researchers of race, ethnicity and migration history, as well as modern British political and social history more generally, its interdisciplinary nature will also appeal to wider fields, including sociology, political sciences and criminology.
Fifty years ago Enoch Powell made national headlines with his 'Rivers of Blood' speech, warning of an immigrant invasion in the once respectable streets of Wolverhampton. This local fixation brought the Black Country town into the national spotlight, yet Powell's unstable relationship with Wolverhampton has since been overlooked. Drawing from oral history and archival material, this book offers a rich local history through which to investigate the speech, bringing to life the racialised dynamics of space during a critical moment in British history. What was going on beneath the surface in Wolverhampton and how did Powell's constituents respond to this dramatic moment? The research traces the ways in which Powell's words reinvented the town and uncovers highly contested local responses. While Powell left Wolverhampton in 1974, the book returns to the city to explore the collective memories of the speech that continue to reverberate. In a contemporary period of new crisis and division, examining the shadow of Powell allows us to reflect on racism and resistance from 1968 to the present day.
This book excavates forgotten histories of solidarity which were vital to radical political imaginaries during the ‘long sixties’. It decentres the conventional Western focus of this critical historical moment by foregrounding transnational solidarity with, and across, anticolonial and anti-imperialist liberation struggles. It traces the ways in which solidarity was conceived, imagined and enacted in the border-crossings – of nation, race and class identifications – of grassroots activists. Exiled revolutionaries in Uruguay, postcolonial migrants in Britain, and Greek communist refugees in East Germany campaigned for their respective causes from afar while identifying and linking up with liberation struggles in Vietnam and the Gulf and with civil rights movements elsewhere. Meanwhile, Arab migrants in France, Pakistani volunteers and Iraqi artists found a myriad of ways to express solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Neglected archives also reveal Tricontinental Cuban-based genealogies of artistic militancy, as well as stories of anticolonial activist networks and meetings in North America, Italy, the Netherlands and Sudan, forging connections with those freedom fighters attempting to overthrow Portuguese colonial rule in Africa. These entwined routes of the 1960s chart a complex map of transnational political recognition and radical interconnections. Bringing together original research with contributions from veteran activists and artists, this interdisciplinary volume explores how transnational solidarity was expressed in and carried through the itineraries of migrants and revolutionaries, film and print cultures, art and sport, political campaigns and armed struggle. It presents a novel perspective on radical politics of the global sixties which remains crucial to understanding anti-racist solidarity today.