Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition

Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition


PDF of Cedric J. Robinson’s book. From the introduction, “Ironically, to Black radicals of the twentieth century, one of the most compelling features of Marxism was its apparent universalism. Unlike the dominant historical discourses of the nineteenth century, historical materialism was inflected by an internationalism and a scientific rigor which plainly transcended the obnoxious and sinister claims for destiny exhibited by such conceits as German nationalism, British imperialism, the racism of the “White Man’s Burden,” and so forth. For a time, then, Marxism might have seemed an effective antidote to contemporary discourse. But Marxism’s internationalism was not global; its materialism was exposed as an insufficient explanator of cultural and social forces; and its economic determinism too often politically compromised freedom struggles beyond or outside of the metropole. For Black radicals, historically and immediately linked to social bases predominantly made up of peasants and farmers in the West Indies, or sharecroppers and peons in North America, or forced laborers on colonial plantations in Africa, Marxism appeared distracted from the cruelest and most characteristic manifestations of the world economy. This exposed the inadequacies of Marxism as an apprehension of the modern world, but equally troubling was Marxism’s neglect and miscomprehension of the nature and genesis of liberation struggles which already had occurred and surely had yet to appear among these peoples.”

Black Marxism- Cedric J. Robinson

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