Baruch Hirson, 1990, “Communalism and Socialism in Africa: The Misdirection of C.L.R. James”

PDF: Hirson – Communalism and Socialism – the misdirection of CLR James

CLR James, a great Marxist scholar famed esp for his work on the slave revolt in Haiti in the 1790s-1800s — part of the larger process sometimes called the ‘French Revolution’ — is rightly venerated as a great left scholar. For anarchists and syndicalists there is the additional attraction of his fairly libertarian politics: although he manifestly failed to properly understand the authoritarianism of Lenin and Trotsky, or the true history of the early USSR — remaining in the mould of Stalin-as-root-of-all-evil — he was a staunch advocate of a socialism from below, including direct self-management of production. At least sometimes … as so many on the left, James had a ‘third worldist’ blindspot that led him to an almost uncritical support of a range of dubious ‘third world’ (colonial and postcolonial) regimes and movements. If workers democracy was his credo for the West, the rest got something else…. This was manifest in his adulation of Kwame Nkrumah, a union-bashing nationalist leader of Ghana, and his mixed economy (christened ‘socialism’ although being virtually indistinguishable from the capitalist import-substitution-industrialisation common in the ‘third world’ where it was applied by everyone from Latin American and Asian military regimes to ‘African capitalist’ states, to the apartheid and Rhodesian governments as well!). Article considers the roots of this adulatory approach in larger left errors, and also provides some important critiques of the regimes of Nkrumah and similar figures and ‘African socialism’…

 

REF:

Baruch Hirson, 1992, COMMUNALISM AND SOCIALISM IN AFRICA:
THE MISDIRECTION OF C.L.R. JAMES 1
SEARCHLIGHT SOUTH AFRICA No.4
A Marxist Journal of South African Studies

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s